I Discriminate

July 15th, 2010

By Nancy Morgan

I discriminate. All the time. When I see black teenagers with gang tats coming towards me, I’ll move to the other side of the street. Now if they were carrying Bibles, I might not be as worried.

If I play backgammon with an Asian, I use different tactics than I would with say, an Irishman. Experience has taught me that Asians excel in math and I adopt my tactics accordingly.

If I am going to pick a winner on Dancing With Stars, I’ll pick the black couple, hands down. As a rule, blacks just dance better than whites. (Can I say that?)

If I need to hire someone to do yard work, I’ll choose a Mexican laborer over a welfare recipient any day. Experience has taught me that Mexicans, both legal and illegal, have a better work ethic than do those who rely on welfare.

Not a day goes by that I don’t discriminate. The left calls this racism. I call it survival.

To ignore years of life experience in favor of government mandated political correctness is the height of folly. No-one has the right to legislate morality. And no-one has the right to demand that I believe the leftists’ mantra that all cultures and people are equal. That’s just plain stupid.

People in the U.S. are born equal. The decisions they make throughout their lives, however, result in far different outcomes. Some decide to spend their lives pursuing a free lunch, while some decide to become productive members of society. In my book, that means the one who contributes to society has more value than the one who doesn’t. They are not equal.

The American culture beats the Arab culture hands down. At least for females. And the culture in my little neighborhood in Murrells Inlet most assuredly trumps the culture in most inner cities. By any measure. That’s just reality.

I personally don’t care for deadbeats. I choose not to associate with them. I also don’t care to associate with feminists, global warming idiots and race baiters. Experience has taught me that I just don’t do well when confronted with useful idiots. It’s a choice I choose to make. It’s discrimination.

For leftists to insist that I ignore cultural and personal differences, to insist that I adhere to their ever-changing version of reality, is akin to asking me to believe that white is black. America is still based on individual freedom. That includes the freedom to decide for myself. It’s called “having an opinion.”

Why should I agree to suspend my own judgement in favor of a mealy-mouthed platitude whose main purpose is to confer faux moral superiority on any useful idiot who opts to parrott the politically correct soundbite of the day?

Discrimination is a survival tool. It’s wisdom, not discrimination, to learn from past experiences. And to apply that knowledge in everyday choices.

Since I acknowledge that there are differences between different races, I guess I’m also a racist. Believe it or not, we all are. Hey, I wouldn’t put an Asian with a mathematics degree on the basketball court. But according to the left, that means I am “profiling.” Color me guilty.

I admit it. I profile people based on their race and appearance.

Somehow, it just doesn’t sink in that a young skinhead sporting a Nazi tattoo is the equal of say, Thomas Sowell. Based on the skinhead’s appearance, I form conclusions about him. The conclusions may be wrong, but I’m not going to bet on it. And I’m not going to invite to dinner the black guy I saw on TV dressed in military gear telling everyone to kill white babies. Life experience has taught me that he is an ignorant racist who banks on our new “culture of equality” to shield him from being held accountable for his hateful rhetoric. In my opinion, he’s just trash.

When I see an obese 29 year-old mother of six living on welfare, I make assumptions. When I see a Christian man with two jobs and six children, I also make assumptions. I choose not to believe that the obese mother is a victim of a male dominated patriarchal society. I choose to, gasp, judge her.

She was born with the same rights as I, and she, like everyone else past the age of 20, is a product of the choices they have made. Choices that all of us are picking up the tab for. (How equal is that?)

The mantra that all people and cultures are equal is a dangerous fallacy. Throughout history, countries that are free are not equal, and countries that are equal are not free. Again, it comes down to choice. I choose to live in a country where I am free to discriminate and judge people myself instead of being forced to adhere to the leftist illusion that we’re all equal. That’s just plain stupid. And dangerous.

(This article was also published at Right Bias.)


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35 Responses to “I Discriminate”



  1. larry ennis |

    Nancy
    You have addressed the common sense and experience versus political correctness issue beautifully.

    I liked this passage in particular;
    [Discrimination is a survival tool. It’s wisdom, not discrimination, to learn from past experiences. And to apply that knowledge in everyday choices.]


  2. Brianna |

    I’ve written a couple of things close enough to this that I decided not to pursue this explicit topic, but you might as well have pulled the words out of my head. Go Nancy!


  3. Dr. Jim Taylor |

    Nancy, you are confusing being discriminating in the choices you make with engaging in discrimination, which is defined as, “excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups.”

    You are engaging in stereotypes of groups that may or may not apply to the individual gardener, dancer, or backgammon player. That strikes me as unfair, though perhaps not an unreasonable heuristic. For example, do you have any scientific evidence that blacks are better dancers than whites? I doubt it, but you hold this strongly held belief likely because that is what you have been exposed to through the media (clearly not a representative sample of dancers in general). How is it, then, that the vast majority of professional ballet dancers and modern dancers and Irish dancers are white? Enquiring minds want to know.

    BTW, how do you know when “an obese 29 year-old mother of six” is living on welfare? Unless you’ve seen her welfare check, you are being unfair and engaging in stereotyping. She may, for all you know, be working two jobs and going to night school.

    Also, you say that everyone is born with the same rights and opportunities. Yes, in the letter of the law and the Constitution, everyone has the same rights, but let’s be real here, not everyone has the same rights or opportunities in the real world. As the saying goes, “we are all equal, but some are more equal than others.” I realize that your argument is classic Libertarianism, but it is unreasonable to ignore the economic, social, and cultural situations in which people are born and raised. That isn’t meant to absolve them of responsibility for their lives, but to the environment and culture in which we are raised matters.

    Isn’t there a saying from the bible about not judging others till you have walked in their shoes?

    Profiling others, which you admit to doing, limits your ability to learn from others and to have your beliefs challenged and perhaps refuted. As the saying goes, you can’t tell a book by its cover. Admittedly, you sometimes can, but you never know for sure until you open the book.

    Aren’t you the one (not liberals) who is arguing that everyone is equal (rights, opportunities, choices)?

    Lastly, your blanket and inaccurate(and mean-spirited) stereotyping of liberals and your distorted statements about what they believe shows an extremity and rigidity of ideology that doesn’t seem particularly open to civil discourse or new ideas.

    A sign for me of a deep thinker is the ability to recognize that “I may be wrong.” Can you say that?


  4. Brianna |

    Jim, you are confusing Nancy’s examples with things she actually did and completely missing the point of her essay. The point of the essay is that something which started out as a well-intentioned move to end discrimination based on race has turned into a monster which asks us to refuse to discriminate against anything, for any reason whatsoever. What started with a well-intentioned and correct desire to stop discriminating against blacks has turned into a free=for-all frenzy where human beings have become afraid to name the facts in front of their face and engage in rational thought, for fear that their conclusions will be called discriminatory.

    I discriminate. YOu discriminate. EVERYBODY discriminates, because discrimination is the essence of rational thought. The biggest discriminators of all though, are those who refuse to engage in rational thought for fear that their conclusions will be discriminatory. That’s how you get people who view white people with clubs in front of polling places as voter intimidation, but black people with clubs as no big deal; who think that a Christian who kills an abortion doctor is irredeemable proof that all Christians are murderers, but that a Muslim who tries to set off a bomb is an irrational fringe lunatic who simply doesn’t understand his own faith; who can justify every rocket Hamas fires into Israel as a justifiable response against oppression, but decry any attempt by Israel to keep those rockets from coming into Gaza as “collective oppression” of the Palestinians; who call Bush “Hitler” over the Patriot Act, but go strangely mum when Obama extends it… do I really need to continue here?

    A refusal to discriminate is essentially a choice of evil over good, wrong over right, death over life… because to choose one thing as evil and the other as good requires discrimination between different options. Refuse to make that choice, refuse to discriminate between the good and the evil, and you have chosen evil be default, because in the words of Edmund Burke “the only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”


  5. Dan Miller |

    Jim, I basically agree Brianna’s comment and would add this.

    You say

    Nancy, you are confusing being discriminating in the choices you make with engaging in discrimination, which is defined as, “excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups.”

    Interesting definition and one which has, I fear, become popular. “Discriminating person” was once a term applied to someone who made sensible choices in areas of etiquette, life style and the like.

    That all men are created equal means that all are entitled to equal treatment under the law. If does not mean that all are the same or have the same desires, motivations and abilities; even some by virtue of necessity are not “equal under the law.” Infants born with severe Downs Syndrome and other infirmities are in some respects equal before the law and in some respects not. For the most part, they tend to be good at some tasks but not at others and the failure to recognize this strikes me as unfair and not only to them.

    I submit that people should be considered and dealt with as individuals, not as members of some race or ethnic group, and that it is not only acceptable but necessary to “discriminate” against those individuals who are incapable of, or don’t desire to do, a particular job. A corollary is that it is both acceptable and necessary to “discriminate” in favor of those who are capable of and desire to do a particular job. Life provides an element of experience in making these decisions. If I needed someone to tend my garden and do menial yard work, I would not hire someone with a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology; while not prima facie obvious, it strikes me based on what little I have seen of the world and the people in it that he probably would not want it, would be unhappy doing it, and would quit as soon as he found employment more suited to his abilities and training. By the same token, I would not hire an illiterate person to perform statistical or economic analysis. I would be unlikely to hire a quadriplegic as a typist or motorcycle messenger. I would not hire me to translate from English into Spanish.

    What does this have to do with race or ethnicity per se? Very little, I suspect. It suspect that it may have some relationship to the different treatment of individuals of different race and ethnicity historically and even at present. We have created a society in which employment quotas based on race and ethnicity distort things and create resentment among some and a sense of entitlement among others. I think that is a bad thing.


  6. Brian Bagent |

    Dr. Taylor, what you describe as discrimination would, I think, be more accurately called “bigotry.”

    As Brianna and Dan (not to mention the author of the essay) have pointed out, we discriminate every day.

    One of the thing about generalizations is that they are generally true for the group. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a generalization is true for the individual, and we need to deal with individuals on an individual basis.

    I am amused, though, that most liberals think it OK to generalize with silliness like “African-Americans are under-represented in…Congress…corporate board rooms…college football head coaching…ad infinitum, ad nauseum” yet bristle at accurate suggestions regarding a great many things that tend to cast minorities in negative light.

    For example, I generally discriminate along political lines. All of my friends are either conservative or libertarian. Consequently, I don’t have any black or Hispanic friends. Is this anecdotal? Hardly. Election exit-polling data indicate that 95% of blacks that vote cast their votes for democrats, especially liberal democrats. Those same polls also indicate that 75% of Hispanics that vote also vote for liberal democrats.

    As a matter of fact, there is a website called La Griffe du Lion that uses some complicated mathematical formulae to demonstrate the accuracy of a great many sweeping generalizations. If you’ve never studied the calculus or differential equations, or if it has been a while, this stuff can be very difficult to follow. I get the idea that the author(s) is/are academics because this site is published under pseudonym. What an indictment the politics of academia.


  7. Dr. Jim Taylor |

    @Brianna: I know from the start that this discussion isn’t going to get anywhere, but I’ll take my shot.

    You confuse discriminating from discrimination (I agree with Dan that being discriminating is a healthy attribute). Facts and rational thought are clearly in the eye of the beholder (or the lens of their ideology). One person’s rational thought is another person’s crazy talk. This is self-evident given that highly intelligent people on the Left and Right come to vastly different conclusions. Who is rational? Who is correct? Both may make very reasoned and persuasive arguments, yet who is right? As I often say, it depends on the lens of your ideology through which you peer at the world. Which just proves that when it comes to many hot-button issues, there is no right or wrong, good or evil, just impassioned beliefs.

    You state that “That’s how you get people who view white people with clubs in front of polling places as voter intimidation, but black people with clubs as no big deal; who think that a Christian who kills an abortion doctor is irredeemable proof that all Christians are murderers, but that a Muslim who tries to set off a bomb is an irrational fringe lunatic who simply doesn’t understand his own faith; who can justify every rocket Hamas fires into Israel as a justifiable response against oppression, but decry any attempt by Israel to keep those rockets from coming into Gaza as “collective oppression” of the Palestinians; who call Bush “Hitler” over the Patriot Act, but go strangely mum when Obama extends it… do I really need to continue here?”

    First of all, pretty ideologically self-serving examples considering how often Obama has been called Hitler, fascist, a communist, etc. But I digress.

    Your examples are not of fear of discrimination, rather all are simply examples of self-serving, extreme, and unjust ideology (and this applies to the Left and the Right).

    Yes, political correctness is bad, but many people wrap their outlandish statements and extreme behavior in the cloak of resisting the bonds of PC and being “honest.” I hate PCness and believe in frank talk (I hope you’ve noticed), but sometimes racism is racism and sexism is sexism, and sometimes some people are just plain wrong.

    Yes, we have to make choices about what we see and experience in life, but life, contrary to most Libertarians’ views, is not always so dichotomous or clear.

    @Dan: As I just noted in my response to Brianna, I totally get the idea of the discriminating person, but that is not, in my view, what Nancy was doing. She was making stereotyped judgments based on appearance and then acting on judgments without having the slightest idea about whether those stereotypes apply to the individuals. Then she was using those examples to justify her view of discrimination and, in the process, demonize and distort the views of people with whom she disagrees.

    You know by now my attitude toward those who attack and insult individuals or groups rather than challenging the issues. They are insecure, angry, and weak of argument.

    All people may be born equal, but they are not raised equal. The unwillingness to take that element into consideration when discriminating is, in my view, unjust and wrong. That does not absolve people of responsibility for their actions, but it does offer perspective and perhaps a bit of compassion for those who struggle.

    I completely agree with you that we should treat people as individuals and that we shouldn’t use individual behavior to demonize groups of which they are a member (e.g., killers of abortion doctors do not represent all Christians, Islamic terrorists don’t represent all Muslims). Of course, as you suggest, life would be too complicated to consider every person individually. We have evolved the use of stereotyping as a heuristic to simplify all of the information we are confronted with, thus enabling us to make quicker (though not always accurate) decisions. Thus, it is easier to hire a gardener if we know that the person has experience as a gardener rather than as a molecular biologist. At the same time, that biologist might have intimate experience in gardening and may want a career change! :->

    I think you and I are in mostly agreement on this.


  8. Dan Miller |

    Jim,

    Gosh darn! I just hate it when a damn “liberal” and I agree. Note to self: be more discriminating in future comments.

    Here is the cartoon for the day.


  9. Brianna |

    > You confuse discriminating from discrimination (I agree with Dan that being discriminating is a healthy attribute). Facts and rational thought are clearly in the eye of the beholder (or the lens of their ideology).

    NO THEY’RE NOT!

    2+2=4. The sun will rise in the East. What goes up must come down. Scratch a Leftist, find someone who doesn’t believe in objective truth. Okay, that last was actually a sterotype based on observation and experience, but I digress.

    The point is, while evaluations of the facts of existence can vary (which is REALLY where the poltical spectrum comes from), the facts themselves do not and can not. We do not always interpret those facts correctly; in fact, as the Church did w.r.t. whether the Earth circles the Sun, we often interpret those facts atrociously. But that doesn’t mean those facts don’t exist.

    This is exactly what Nancy was talking about. At the root of this desire not to discriminate is a repudiation of the idea of objective truth. But if there is no objective truth, no underlying reality behind our viewpoints and assumptions which we can turn to as the ultimate arbiter of our beliefs, then the only way left to us to resolve differences… is by force.

    > Which just proves that when it comes to many hot-button issues, there is no right or wrong, good or evil, just impassioned beliefs.

    Oh yeah? Genocide in Rwanda. Slavery in the Old South. The Nazi death camps. The starvation of the Ukranians in the 30s. The rape of Nanking. South African apartheid. Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust. Sending kids into cafes as suicide bombers. Serial killers. Child rapists. Liars and cheats and thieves.

    Nobody actually believes that line, yourself included, so don’t go running around pontificating it as the font of morality when it isn’t even true.

    > First of all, pretty ideologically self-serving examples considering how often Obama has been called Hitler, fascist, a communist, etc. But I digress.

    Again, you entirely missed the point of my examples. What I was trying to point out was that this ideology leads to people viewing the exact same acts for the exact same reasons in different moral lights depending on whodunit. Blacks are allowed to intimidate voters at polling places, but whites are not. Palestinians are allowed to fire off rockets in “self-defense,” but Israelis are not. Obama is allowed to use the Patriot Act, but Bush is not. Why? Blacks were oppressed, but whites were not. Palestinians are “oppressed;” Israelis are not. Obama is a politlcal ally; Bush was a political enemy. The refusal to discriminate does not lead to justice, but to a new sort of “morality” based on how we feel about the people in question. Or to put it bluntly, a morality of men and not of laws.

    > I hate PCness and believe in frank talk (I hope you’ve noticed), but sometimes racism is racism and sexism is sexism, and sometimes some people are just plain wrong.

    Sometimes it is. And sometimes it’s not. The problem is, PC doesn’t allow us the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rational judgement and attempting to distinguish between the two. Instead we are guilty until proven innocent, forever forced to work off spurious charges of racism and prejudice which aren’t even true. It’s the modern-day witch hunt, and I’m sick of it.

    > Yes, we have to make choices about what we see and experience in life, but life, contrary to most Libertarians’ views, is not always so dichotomous or clear.

    No it is not always neat and clear. But that doesn’t mean there are no right answers, no way to tell right from wrong, no objective reality. Because if there weren’t, then the only way to settle moral and political questions would be to resort to force, either a majority imposing their views on a minority, or vice versa.

    The defining tenet of libertarianism, OTOH, is the removal of force from human relationships, which is precisely BECAUSE it depends on the existence of an objective reality. We don’t always get it right. But we get it right more often than people who claim that reality isn’t real and anything goes.


  10. Dan Miller |

    Brinna, you say

    The problem is, PC doesn’t allow us the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rational judgement and attempting to distinguish between the two. Instead we are guilty until proven innocent. . . .

    Here, if I may, is a suggested revision:

    The problem is, PC doesn’t allow us the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rational judgement and attempting to distinguish between the two. Instead we are guilty until proven innocent . . .

    The charges remain, and we are deemed guilty regardless of any proof to the contrary. That’s part of political correctness, and I am sick of it. Even Pepto Bismol doesn’t work; rum helps, but is not a viable solution.


  11. Brianna Aubin |

    “rum helps, but is not a viable solution”

    I tried wine a couple of times, but found it equally unhelpful.


  12. Aearlath |

    I’ll add my own loquacious comment here:

    Well said Nancy! :-)


  13. d |

    Adding mine,too. Well said Dr.Taylor. I agree with you completely. Brian,what a sad existence,all white friends. You are really missing out on life,but categorizing your friends,as well as everyone.
    Nancy,you seem to have a life full of fear and judgement,too. I think I would hire a gardner,who knew his garden,regardless of his ethnicity or degrees. I,also would not try to make all Asians be math professeurs,maybe one or two want to paint,or run restaurants. You are a biggot,plain and simple,not said so nicely as Dr. Taylor,sorry,I calls em as I sees em.


  14. Dr. Jim Taylor |

    @Dan: I actually love it when I agree with someone of seemingly different views. An important lesson that the differences are rarely as great as they appear…if only we will open our minds.

    @Brianna: I’m sure you find me incredibly frustrating. I don’t have time for a lengthy response, but one point. Twice you invoke force as the only way to settle differences. But, history shows other ways, for example, respectful dialogue, looking for common ground, and, yes, compromise, which those who are ideologically extreme seem unwilling to do (in the guise of standing up for their values).

    Of course, there are irrefutable facts (e.g., 2+2=4) and there is clear right and wrong (e.g., Rwanda). But there are so many other issues that don’t have irrefutable facts and aren’t clearly right or wrong (e.g., increasing taxes, cutting spending, health care reform, financial reform, even abortion). Those are the issues that cause the most problems because ideologically extreme people (on the Left and Right) believe what they believe to be factual and right.

    I am against using force to impose my beliefs on others, so we agree on that, though my guess is that you include any government involvement as force, which I would interpret as necessary for the effective functioning of a country (even if it impinges on some individuals). But that is another hornet’s nest that I don’t want to play with.

    @d: Thanks for the support. Though some of your judgments I will keep at arm’s length for my own blogging survival! :-> It’s lonely being a liberal in O-F’s forest of libertarians.


  15. Brianna |

    I think Nancy secretly put up two separate, distinct essays, and which one you get on your computer screen depends on where you are politically.


  16. d |

    Lmao! Brianna. Good one. It is lonely here ,Dr.Taylor,but I,too,enjoy the debate. I love when we agree,either side,and I like it when the other side convinces me of their point.
    As for Nancy,another thought,I am a tall, blue eyed blonde,does that make me a complete idiot,in your world,or,are some of my parts missing?


  17. d |

    Another thought for Brian,you must really be missing a lot,when your only friends agree with your point of view,or think your way. I love my friends to have differing views,or else,I might as well be talking to myself,course then, I’d have a kind,loving ear to dote on my every word. Plus,I’d be thought of as awesome and brilliant,in every conversation.:)That’s why I like you guys.


  18. Brian Bagent |

    Doris, you are missing the point. I don’t have black or Mexican friends not because of their skin color, it’s because I don’t gee-haw with their politics, or they don’t gee-haw with mine.

    Why would I form a voluntary relationship with someone that I would argue with every time politics came up, especially since politics is one of my favorite things to talk about? Simply because I choose not to befriend people because of their politics doesn’t mean that I treat them with anything other than respect and courtesy.

    For someone that seems to think Nancy is horrible for making the judgments that she has made, you certainly are quick to judge her. That’s the problem with moral and political relativism (so-called tolerance) – it declares that all viewpoints and lifestyles are valid and equal.


  19. Brianna |

    “I’m sure you find me incredibly frustrating. ”

    And you are not going to enjoy reading this response. We’ll survive.

    I think you’re one of the people who does what this speaker talks about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

    And yes, on one level that IS incredibly frustrating, because once you’ve decided that it’s impossible to determine reality objectively, what you’ve essentially done is given up on rational thought. Try to get through to someone with rational thought when that person has given up on the usefulness of rational thought. It’s not easy.

    “Twice you invoke force as the only way to settle differences.”

    Yes, contingent on the underlying assumption that there is no objective reality, no true world that does not depend on the perception of our senses and is not perceived the same by all, even if we interpret it differently. IF that assumption were true, then the only way to settle differences would be by force, because force is the only alternative to reason, which is dependent on having an objective reality to be rational about.

    “Of course, there are irrefutable facts (e.g., 2+2=4) and there is clear right and wrong (e.g., Rwanda). But there are so many other issues that don’t have irrefutable facts and aren’t clearly right or wrong ”

    Which is why you need to be a hypocrite to be a Leftist, in the most literal sense of the term. You believe things halfway.

    Leftists cannot take their ideas to extremes. They kill people. You can’t live by sacrificing everything you have to others, you can’t survive a single day without making some sort of judgement, if you truly believed there was no objective reality you wouldn’t bother to debate anything, because who cares what the answer is when there isn’t one, and if you truly believed there was no right or wrong except that of the “general welfare,” then you would have simply seized the wealth, instigated your dictatorship of the proletariat, and been done with it a long time ago.

    So you do it halfway. You say that sometimes reality is objective and sometimes it’s subjective. It’s good to be charitable and giving, but don’t take it to extremes. It’s OK to send your kids to nice private schools instead of crappy public schools so long as you advocate those schools should be made better. Government shoudln’t do everything (because we’ve all seen how THAT turns out), but it should provide for people’s basic needs. You live your ideals halfway in the name of practicality, forgetting that in a debate of practicality vs. morality, morality will always win and there will always be someone willing to declare “halway” just a little further down the line than you would.

    Understand I’m not calling you a hypocrite in intent; you truly believe you’re doing the right thing. But the argument that reality is only real “sometimes” IS hypocritical in fact, and I warn you now that it will only take you so far. You’re a nice guy, and I don’t think you’d ever go along with insanity. But I do think you’ll eventually be left behind by your ideological brethren, standing alone as they go off in a mad rush for “justice” and wondering how such moderate and reasonable people could have possibly gone so insane.

    “my guess is that you include any government involvement as force, which I would interpret as necessary for the effective functioning of a country ”

    I believe that government force should be used for one purpose and one purpose only: protecting individual rights. It means that the only thing government is allowed to force you to not do are things you have no right to do anyway. At its most basic level, this means that government is allowed to step in to prevent lying, cheating and stealing, since nobody has a right to lie, cheat and steal. But it also means that government has no business in welfare, because no person has the right to a material good or service. Back in the days of the Old South, we called the inalienable right of one person to the goods or services produced by another “slavery,” and I do not believe that human beings have the right to own each other. The essential problem with Lefitsts is that they translate “nice things to do” with “somebody ought to make sure they are done,” which rapidly mutates into “requirement to be a moral human being” and “government should do it.” I do not believe in the validity of that logical chain.


  20. Dr. Jim Taylor |

    @Brianna: Where to begin. Actually, I just don’t have the time to continue this debate, though I find both enlightening and, as we both acknowledge, frustrating.

    All I can say is that you take just about everything to its extreme, and illogical, conclusion. There are no shades of gray, there is nuance for you. Yes, perhaps Leftists think as you suggest, but the majority of those on the left are hardly Leftists. And Leftists, just like “Rightists” do take their ideas to the extreme. There is no halfway for either you or your brethren on the far left. If people have views outside the norm, they are by definition extreme. That’s why you are in the minority.

    You just can’t seem to accept that, for many things in life, there is no single answer (as I noted in my previous comment). That doesn’t make me hypocritical, it makes me realistic and, yes, rational because I see the world as it is not as I wish it would be (the latter being delusion).

    Actually, no, practicality will win out over morality because, as I will post on Monday on a post of Cheating, we most fundamentally need to survive in the world and survival dictates being practical over being moral (I’m not saying this is a good thing, it simply is reality). Otherwise, how do you explain cheating, lying, and stealing?

    I guess that wraps it up for me. We’re going on holiday tonight for a week, so I probably won’t have time to spar further with you on this topic. But I expect (and look forward to) our future “debates.”


  21. Dr. Jim Taylor |

    @Brianna: Forgot to respond to your last sentence: “The essential problem with Lefitsts is that they translate “nice things to do” with “somebody ought to make sure they are done,” which rapidly mutates into “requirement to be a moral human being” and “government should do it.” I do not believe in the validity of that logical chain.”

    Talk about getting way off the train track. You go from “nice things” to “government should do it” with a few stops along the way. That is not a logical chain, but a truly illogical chain of which each link has no clear relation to the others. You create that chain to justify your ideology. Perhaps Leftists think that way, but, again, they are extreme and not representative of generally accepted liberal thinking or rational thought.

    Please stop creating these bogeymen (and women) to demonize those with whom you disagree and justify your own views.

    And the fact that you are right with such certainty and others are just wrong is the height of arrogance. Perhaps in a decade or two, you will have lived enough to develop some humility in your beliefs.

    As I suggested to Nancy, “A sign for me of a deep thinker is the ability to recognize that “I may be wrong.” Can you say that?” I should also add “a humble thinker.”

    I get into these debates not to prove to others I am right (because that is a futile endeavor), but rather to challenge myself to see if I am wrong.

    “Nuff said. Have a great week!

    I don’t say these things out of anger or mean-spiritedness.


  22. Brianna |

    “All I can say is that you take just about everything to its extreme, and illogical, conclusion. There are no shades of gray, there is nuance for you. ”

    I am inflexible in the way that science is inflexible. Gravity is a law. Lightspeed is a law. They are physical laws of the universe which cannot be broken. A friend of mine who has taken some philosophy courses however said he once heard a professor argue that gravity ceases to exist when the plane leaves the ground (I wish I was kidding). That is not true. What happens is that the force of gravity is countered by the upward pressure of the air on the airplane wings. He knows that. I know that. But a bunch of kids left that classroom thinking that the laws of reality were flexible and subject to debate.

    The purpose of the laws of science is to help us deal with physical reality. The purpose of the laws of morality are to help us survive and thrive. Don’t steal is a law of morality. It is a farily inflexible one. Nevertheless, the law does acknowledge times when it is better to steal (if you are starving) than not steal, and thus die of hunger. Does this mean that the principle that it is immoral to take the unearned work of others has been invalidated, or that it was trumped by the greater principle of staying alive?

    I am alive to complexity. I am perfectly aware of nuance. But I don’t solve problems in science by throwing the laws we have derived in order to explain the physical universe out the window, and I don’t solve problems in morality by tossing the moral laws we have come up with in order to further human life out the window.

    “You just can’t seem to accept that, for many things in life, there is no single answer”

    I know there is no single answer. I am perfectly aware that the answer to life’s problems differ for different people based on their circumstances, temperament and ability. That is why I support an ideology that tells government (the agent of force in society) to do as little as possible in order to keep order, and which does not believe that the government should step in to people’s lives and solve their problems according to their pre-written, non-personalized scripts. I am inflexible on one thing: the right of human beings to think, act and feel as they see fit. This leads me to loudly advocate for getting government out of business, banking and ideology, so that people are free to pursue maximum economic and personal freedom. The Left is the side that is full of hubris. The Left is the side that thinks it’s answered all of life’s problems. The Left is the side which thinks that if they only tweak their social welfare programs a little more, then we’ll emerge in a utopian paradise. And if you don’t believe me, just look at Obama. He’s the man who proclaimed that we would remember his presidency as the moment when the planet would start to heal. If that’s not hubris, I don’t know what is.

    “Actually, no, practicality will win out over morality because, as I will post on Monday on a post of Cheating, we most fundamentally need to survive in the world and survival dictates being practical over being moral (I’m not saying this is a good thing, it simply is reality).”

    Really? Then how do you explain the Ukranian famines. The Nazi death camps. In what version of reality is mass murder a practical thing to do? How do you explain why the Nazis diverted desperately needed wartime resources to those camps; that was hardly “practical.” What about suicide bombers; how is dying to kill some innocent kids in a cafe practical? Or Kim Jong Il’s repeated attempts to punish any sign of free markets and reinstate socialism, even though he literally watched 10% of his population DIE of it. Frankly, if the practical trumped the moral, we wouldn’t have a welfare system, we wouldn’t be deviating from free-market capitalism. Capitalism delivers the goods. You have to live in a cave not to know that. If we were all practical, economics wouldn’t be an issue. But for the average human being, when they encounter a clash between the practical and the moral, the moral will win in most situations, sometimes even in one where survival is at stake.

    “Otherwise, how do you explain cheating, lying, and stealing?”

    Don’t ask me, I don’t think such actions are moral OR practical.

    “Talk about getting way off the train track. You go from “nice things” to “government should do it” with a few stops along the way. That is not a logical chain, but a truly illogical chain of which each link has no clear relation to the others. ”

    I know it’s not a logical track. That’s what I said. But do you truly deny that the vast majority of those who support government safety nets do so because they believe that it is moral to help the poor, and thus we have a duty to do so by setting up a mandatory safety net to which all must be forced to contribute in order to ensure it works?


  23. Tom Carter |

    Fascinating comments! Nancy, you kicked a hornets’ nest and did a good job of it. I’m not going to even attempt to parse the earlier comments — I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with parts of what everyone said.

    There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. — Jesse Jackson

    This is discrimination of the kind Nancy is talking about. It’s also profiling, and it doesn’t mean Jesse Jackson is bigoted, racist, or evil. It just means that he was thinking rationally based on the realities of his own life and experience. He was thinking at the most basic human level, instinctively, in terms of reacting to a potential threat to his health or perhaps his very life. This quote is often misused in an effort to paint Jackson as a hypocrite, and over the years he has responded defensively that it was taken out of context, etc. The reality, however, is that context, nuance, and moral understandings always take a back seat to survival — at least for those who survive.

    I spent all day Thursday traveling from Europe to Texas. The flights got messed up, I got re-routed, and I somehow managed to visit Chicago along the way. I enjoyed going through security at least six times — computer out of the bag, belt off, watch off, empty pockets, take shoes off a couple of times. Walk through the metal detector, usually make the damn thing beep anyway, get wanded, put the computer back in the bag, put belt and watch back on, re-stuff my pockets, put my shoes back on. While doing this, and in the approximately 14 hours I spent stuffed into a metal tube with my fellow sardines, I reflected on, among other things, profiling.

    I’m a professional soldier, a retired U.S. Army colonel. My guess is the likelihood that I or any other retired U.S. military officer or NCO will bomb an airplane is approximately zero. Ditto the grey-haired grandma in front of me, the mom and her kids from middle America behind me, the young black girl traveling as a minor who was escorted to the security point by her father and sister…you get the point. With a little rational discrimination, uncountable time, money, and frustration could be saved by full security screening only for those who merit such attention.

    Who might that be? First of all, any Muslim — men, women, and children. After all, they’ve been known to send their children out with bombs strapped on them in order to kill innocent people. Anyone with a felony conviction for a violent offense. Anyone acting or looking weird or suspicious, based on the judgment of security officers on the scene. Any religious extremist of any stripe — Muslims may blow up airplanes, but Christians have murdered abortion doctors and bombed clinics. And who knows; there might be an abortion doctor on the plane.

    Perhaps we could have three categories: Cat 1, which would include me, grandma, mom and her kids, and the unaccompanied minor. We don’t blow up planes. Cat 2, those unlikely to be violent but deserve a reduced level of screening. Cat 3, everyone else, including those discussed in the previous paragraph. Show your Cat 1 ID card, and you go around the security point, unimpeded. Show your Cat 2 ID card, and you go through minimal screening. Otherwise, line up, take your computer out, take off your shoes, etc.

    Now see, I know you’re going to ask me how we could organize all that. How do we overcome the hysterical cries about profiling? I don’t have any idea. But when you’re stuck in that milieu, your mind wanders and you start thinking like a libertarian: great ideas, rationality, and common sense — but no workable solutions.


  24. larry ennis |

    Tom
    Isn’t your comparison of Muslim terrorist bombers and Christian anti-abortion zealots just a little off the mark.
    Murder is indeed murder but the sheer numbers of Muslim killings far far out distance the number of abortionist doctors that have died. Notable is your non-mention of the number of violations against humanity by the abortionist doctors that you paint as victims.


  25. Brianna Aubin |

    I also think it’s highly unlikely that a Christian nut would go on a plane to kill an abortion doctor. Purely from a practical standpoint, it’s far easier to shoot him at home or going about his daily routine.


  26. Tom Carter |

    Larry, your comment about “the number of violations against humanity by the abortionist doctors” is equivalent to an islamist terrorist saying that his actions are justified by the evils America perpetuates, Zionist occupation of his land, or whatever. Regardless of your views on abortion, terrorism against abortion doctors and their staffs, including blowing up clinics, is never justifiable. There simply is no justification for terrorism.

    Brianna, if what you say is true, then they also wouldn’t find it necessary to bomb abortion clinics and related facilities. It’s not a big step from there to blowing up a plane because an abortion doctor is on it. These people, just like radical islamists, are violent religous extremists.


  27. Brianna |

    Tom, it was a wry joke.

    Every religion has its nutcases. The reason I am far less worried about Christian nutcases than Muslim nutcases is because when George Tiller decided to take the law into his own hands, he was condemned by the Christian mainstream. When 19 jihadis decided to crash the twin towers, Muslims around the world started cheering.


  28. Tom Carter |

    Good point, Brianna, and I agree with you completely. Muslims aren’t going to become respectable until the vast majority begin condemning the terrorist acts of their coreligionists, and I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.


  29. d |

    Tom,they blow up the clinic,because it is where the abortion occurs,not on the plane. That way they get all those involved,and consider themselves lucky to get a few tired women getting said abortions. The Dr. is more than likely, not gonna give anyone an abortion,anywhere other than in the clinic,at least,as long as they are still legal. If,they weren’t legal,he might give one almost anywhere,but not on a plane. My question is,why is an unborn baby,more important than the nurses,doctors,and friends waiting? Larry,this is still murder,even if they consider the Dr. a murderer,which he isn’t.


  30. Brianna |

    “My question is,why is an unborn baby,more important than the nurses,doctors,and friends waiting? Larry,this is still murder,even if they consider the Dr. a murderer,which he isn’t.”

    He isn’t a murderer according to you. This man is not you.

    I’m pro-choice, but from an anti-abortion standpoint, if you really believe abortion is murder than killing those who perform them is (to those who do it), not murder but vigilante justice. That doesn’t make it right. But that’s the viewpoint.

    A friend of mine once argued that the fact that mainstream, pro-choice Christians condemn such things is a sign that they are not really sincere in their position that abortion is murder, because if they truly believed it then they’d be cheering these guys on, just as those who participated in the underground railroad helped escaped slaves even though it was the law that they had to be returned to the South.


  31. d |

    Thats why we have laws and prisons,because we are not supposed to take the law into our own hands. The murderer is the one comitting a murder,not the one doing a legal procedure in a legal clinic. If you oppose a law,you don’t get to kill the ones who follow this law,but you may protest and vote to change it. I don’t think I am allowed to murder anyone ,even those I believe to be murderers,do I?


  32. drjim |

    @Brianna: I only have time for a few comments to your reply to my comment.

    Re: “I am inflexible in the way that science is inflexible.” Finally you admit that you are inflexible, in other words, an ideologue. You say that you see complexity, yet your thinking is full of its inverse: absolutes, dichotomous thinking, rigidity, closedness to other ideas.

    I heard recently a fascinating distinction between ideology and belief. Ideology exists in the face of reality and contradictory facts and experience. Belief is consistent with reality and open to contradictory facts and experience.

    Once again, you go to extremes in justifying your beliefs: “Then how do you explain the Ukranian famines. The Nazi death camps.” There are some examples that are so obvious as to be useless in their explanatory value.

    By saying that the Left says or does this or that, you are guilty of the very things of which you accuse them. Your sense of certitude in your beliefs is the scary thing. What you said about the Left holds true for everyone with extreme ideologies (including you). The certainty in one’s beliefs makes people arrogant and full of hubris. I would assume that, because you are in graduate school, that you are in your 20s or early 30s. There is a saying, “the arrogance of youth.” Though I’m not that old, I possessed that quality when I was that age and it inhibited my life. I hope you learn some humility in your “old age” because there is more happiness and peace in it.

    As for Obama, his statements could as easily be characterized as naive as arrogant.

    Finally, I could have sworn you said that if practicality won out over morality, then we wouldn’t have a welfare system. Are you saying that welfare is morally right?!?!? Sounds like apostasy for a libertarian! :->


  33. Brianna |

    “Re: “I am inflexible in the way that science is inflexible.” Finally you admit that you are inflexible, in other words, an ideologue.”

    Yes, of course I am an ideologue. I have an ideology which I have constructed to explain the world of human beings, which I try to make as logical, consistent and consonant with reality as possible to maximize my ability to survive and thrive. Everyone is an ideologue, yourself included, because everyone has an ideology which they use to guide them in living their lives. The reason I said I am rigid in the way science is rigid is that I use my ideology the same way I use scientific theory. For example, I am perfectly aware that Newton’s law of gravity is a theory, not a fact. By this, I mean that it was a model constructed to explain the way the world works, and not any sort of divine truth. Newton’s theory breaks down in cases like Mercury, which puzzled scientists for centuries because the measurements we took of its movements did not correspond to what we expected according to Newton’s law. These measurement anomalies were resolved by Einstein’s theory of relativity, but at the same time we are perfectly aware that Einstein’s theory is not immutable fact, but a theory constructed to explain the way the world works, and that it breaks down in certain circumstances to be superseded by a theory we do not yet have.

    Frankly, the most dangerous people of all are the ones who militantly refuse to develop any ideology at all for fear of being wrong, because those are the people who have basically decided not to engage in linear thought. If you really want to hear my thoughts on the subject in detail, look up my earlier essay “the right to judge”. It basically says the same thing Nancy did, but without the non-PC practical examples which made everybody here decide that Nancy actually engaged in the stupid stereotypes which she used as examples.

    “Once again, you go to extremes in justifying your beliefs: “Then how do you explain the Ukranian famines. The Nazi death camps.” There are some examples that are so obvious as to be useless in their explanatory value.”

    Why is an example invalid simply because it is “extreme”? In fact, wouldn’t an “extreme” example be more valid than a moderate one, since it is in the extreme examples that the clash between the moral and the practical becomes the most glaring and obvious?

    “By saying that the Left says or does this or that, you are guilty of the very things of which you accuse them. Your sense of certitude in your beliefs is the scary thing.”

    What you see is not a sense of certitude in beliefs picked up at random from I know not where. You see a belief in the evidence of my senses, confirmed by writings which put together that evidence in a set of theories and explanations which knitted that evidence together into a cohesive whole. Besides, do you really deny that it is the political Left of this country which believes in welfare, big government, and protecting the citizenry from the consequences of its own actions? Is your complaint that my arguments are untrue, or that I spoke in general terms? Do I really need to explain the difference between outlining general characteristics of a political/ideological group, and stating that something is 100% true for every person who counts themselves as a member of said group? Because if I have to preface every claim about a certain group with an hour long “Be aware that I am aware that not every single person in group X holds every belief attributed to group X,” then these posts will start to get really, really long.

    “Finally, I could have sworn you said that if practicality won out over morality, then we wouldn’t have a welfare system. Are you saying that welfare is morally right?!?!? Sounds like apostasy for a libertarian! :->”

    I also stated that I do not believe theft to be either moral or practical. Since welfare is basically theft (the only way you can spend someone else’s money is to steal it from them first), I do not consider it to be moral. Since welfare doesn’t work, since it breeds dependency and bad habits, I also do not consider it to be practical. One of the main points of libertarianism is that the moral is the practical, and the practical the moral. While there are certainly cases where all options are bad, generally speaking, if something is not moral than it is probably not practical either.


  34. Brianna |

    Oh, and I’m not arguing any more on this subject either.


  35. drjim |

    @Brianna: A few final points. You still don’t understand the distinction between ideology and belief. You are an ideologue. I hold beliefs.

    No, the most dangerous people are those who have rigid ideologies and are unwilling to consider other views or seek compromise.

    Finally, it was Bush who authorized the bailouts of the banks. So, again, it goes both ways. You unfortunately are unable to see beyond your ideology.

    As you suggest, ’nuff said!


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