Monday, August 13, 2018


This is another post taken from the Desirism group site on Facebook


This is a sticky subject.

Desirism is not a tolerant moral system. It is all about using rewards and punishments, including praise and condemnation, to alter how others think. Punishment and condemnation are not polite actions.

At the same time, desirism pays attention to psychological facts. Indeed, the fact that people have a reward system and that this gives us the ability to influence others through the use of rewards and punishments is central to desirism.

Please note, rewards and punishments are not being used here to provide incentives and deterrence. That is a possible and, sometimes, legitimate use. However, desirism concerns the use of these tools to alter sentiments (desires) themselves.

Condemn the racist, the sophist, and the thief and the hope is not only that people will refrain from acts of racism, sophistry, and theft as a means of avoiding condemnation. The hope is that people will adopt an aversion to racism, sophistry, and theft. The goal is to cause people to have an attitude of contempt and disgust towards such people.

It is hoped that this will motivate people to refrain from performing these types of acts even when they can otherwise benefit, and when they can avoid getting caught. “I hate these types of people and I certainly do not want to be one.”

Desirism is intolerant of racists, sophists, and thieves.

It is tolerant of homosexuals. But this is not because. “Tolerance is good.” It is because homosexual acts - and being constituted so as to find value in such relationships - is not bad. There are no reasons to find it intolerable.

Having said this, we must recognize some other relevant facts about human beings.

First, humans are self-centered. They are prone to condemn “that which I do not like” rather than “that which people generally have many and strong reasons to condemn.” Consequently, people are disposed to condemn things that are not wrong. To fight against this danger, we have reason to promote a certain type of tolerance. This type says, “Just because you don’t like it, that does not imply that it’s wrong.” People must be taught to tolerate that which they merely dislike. This does not imply tolerance towards what people generally have many and strong reasons to condemn.

Second, people are arrogant. People tend to think of themselves as paradigms of wisdom and virtue. This s a main cause of sophistry, drunk driving, and other forms of recklessness. “I do not need to be careful. I have super powers” this arrogance causes people to be too quick to condemn and punish. Pay attention to the misplaced condemnation you encounter and you will often find yourself squinting against the speaker’s glaring ego and arrogance.

Third, humans are tribal.

This element is particularly important and needs some more detailed development.

Condemnation works as advertised when two people belong to the same tribe. This likely has an evolutionary foundation. The brain structures that make condemnation effective evolved in an environment where people lived in small tribes. Tribal members primarily used these tools on each other.

Research suggests that condemnation by a member of one tribe against members of another tribe not only fails, it produces the opposite effect. It reinforces the attitude one is condemning, and it drives the members of the other tribe together and binds them on this trait that is being attacked.

In fact, the members of this other tribe views condemnation as an attack. They view the person condemning them, and the tribe that person represents, as hostile and as a threat. They huddle together for usual ai and support against this threat. The very quality that one condemns becomes the very quality that distinguishes friend (ally) from foe. The effect tends to be to motivate the whole tribe to rally around an even more extreme version of that for which they are being attacked.

Ironically, condemning a tribe for extremism tends to cause them to become adopt even more extreme ideas.

And don’t think that you are immune. If you are a human being, then you embrace some attitudes more strongly because other tribes have attacked your tribe on those grounds and you are using it to bond with others in your tribe.

Me, too.

So, how are we to engage in inter-tribal condemnation, for certainly members of other rival tribes are sometimes wrong.

Answer: Don’t. You will just make things worse. Or, more precisely, do not turn it into an inter-tribal conflict.

Condemn the individual as an individual and the specific act type as an act-type deserving condemnation. You criticism will automatically universalize to anybody who fits that description, regardless of tribe.

Condemn the Muslim terrorist for being a terrorist, not for being a Muslim. Condemn the Republican racist for being a racist, not for being a Republican. That is, unless you want more terrorism and more racism, in which case, you’re doing fine.

This, then represents another type of tolerance. This argues for tribal tolerance and respect, but not act-type or attitude tolerance and respect. It argues for addressing wrong act-types and bad attitudes effectively, rather than using methods tha5 actually make the situation worse.

In short, we actually have reason to condemn the practice of expressing condemnation as attacking a tribe, rather than attacking an act-type or attitude. indeed, our justification for condemning wrongs in inter-tribal terms is grounded explicitly on the idea that one out not to encourage the types of act and attitudes that deserve condemnation.[/I]

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