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The Problem with Moral Outrage

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opednews.com Headlined to None 2/22/09

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I'm piggybacking off the intense debate from this article:


I comment based on 2 points from previous commenters. 

One, that the world was shared, until someone or some group tried to say, no, this is mine, and took it by force.  And then the others tried to take it back.  And this has been happening ever since.

Second, that "My intuition also tells me that our tribal roots favor some kind of forced sharing behavior in hard times that transcends immediate family in order to improve the odds of group survival."

I think the system of feudalism, plutocracy, social darwinism, etc...whatever you call it, will always exist. 

"Forced sharing" would be a function of the threat of violent revolution against the wealthy.  The "successful" people will make concessions to avoid this.

Now the comment "our tribal nature dictates some forced sharing in times of need".  I disagree, or would like to point out a troubling feature that folks who favor more egalitarianism (i.e. "sharing") should respond to.

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Wouldn't you consider the AIDS epidemic in Africa a dire time of need?  The famine there?  How about Darfur?  How about all the poor kids in India and China who live with cleff palate?  Aren't those times of need that...IF....we truly are tribal, we would donate time and money to?

But no, we do not. Occasionally when I walk to work (live in the city) there are Amnesty International folks standing on the corner asking for a moment of your time so that they can try to convince you to donate $18  a month for a child in a 3rd world country.  You know what, MOST PEOPLE DON'T STOP.  In fact, I'd say 999 out of 1000 people don't even bat an eye.

But at the same time, MANY of those same people who refuse to give money to an unfortunate 3rd world child ask for more wealth redistribution/sharing here in the U.S.?  So lets consider this.

The Ideal that is hinted on by various leftist political philosophies is that happiness can be maximized in aggregate (if happiness were a measurable thing) by egalitarian production & distribution of things (whatever those things may be).  Adding the second comment, this may not happen all the time, but should in times of crisis.

Ok, lets run the test.  I would consider the conditions in Sri Lanka, Darfur, and other areas of the world more of a "crisis" than the current U.S. money crisis.  You may lose your home, they may lose their life.  For me, my life trumps my residence.

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Since the conditions in other parts of the world are in more crisis, we should help them first in the interest of maximizing happiness.

But, we do not.

Therefore, we are not tribal.  Or our tribe only extends to our country?  Or our ethnicity?  Or our family?  Essentially, I think "tribalism" by these terms is nationalism, which is essentially racism unless the country is incredibly multi-cultural & multi-ethnic. 

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I just read the article in question, and I am a bi... by Chrissie B. on Sunday, Feb 22, 2009 at 2:47:21 PM
Your responding to what others have said, not me.&... by Matthew T. on Sunday, Feb 22, 2009 at 3:28:29 PM
...but the mistake is taken with stride. As t... by Chrissie B. on Monday, Feb 23, 2009 at 9:48:05 AM
Well, I'd welcome you into my tribe if you wer... by Matthew T. on Monday, Feb 23, 2009 at 10:26:34 AM
I don't know that what I mentioned is a coping... by Chrissie B. on Monday, Feb 23, 2009 at 11:12:15 AM
"devout agnostic"....funny term.For me, ... by Matthew T. on Monday, Feb 23, 2009 at 12:41:56 PM
Moralizing is usually  a waste of time. It is... by John Hanks on Monday, Feb 23, 2009 at 12:21:12 PM
I felt that the article was...how shall we  s... by William Whitten on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 1:33:43 AM
...is to sully the point completely.I quite enjoy ... by Chrissie B. on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 8:51:13 AM
ethics is based on the common good. Our economic s... by martinweiss on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 2:45:57 AM
"Humanity, indeed, life on Earth, is now seen... by William Whitten on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 3:49:04 AM
Bill, since you were a frequent contributer to the... by Matthew T. on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 4:17:30 PM


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