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Is integrity subjective?


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34 replies to this topic

#16 hansman1982

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:12 PM

I swear I've posted a response three or four times now.

Tommy, I think you're proving my point. Right/wrong/integrity are all subjective. The Lincoln story is neat but on one hand he may have been an accessory to the woman escaping the justice system. Some people would be appalled while others would cheer.



#17 FFP

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:27 PM

"Right and wrong is subjective. Otherwise, we would throw people in the gas chamber for killing another person in self-defense." You and Lincoln seem to be of one mind in that Goings story, Hansman.

Tommy, I don't know the answer to the question posed, but it struck me (in that Braun thread) that although I don't know, it is worth the wondering.

I really am looking for ideas here; that and, in a cold February, the heat and friendliness you mention.

#18 Tommy

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:29 PM

I humbly will continue to have to disagree. If those things are subjective then I can determine what is right and wrong, so I can do whatever I want as long as I can justify it in my own mind. The argument for the subjectiveness continues to bring up the punishment for the crime in order to defend the fact that it's subjective, but again, I still say, just because we believe someone 'deserves what they get', doesn't make the wrong action taken against them right, it just means justice may have been served by a wrong act.

In the Lincoln story, we all feel sorry for the woman because she was going to be convicted of murder and probably hanged, and that seems like an injustice because she did it in self defense. I would agree with that. But just because the punishment the government, an individual, or a court doles out is unjust doesn't change the act that was committed from being right or wrong. I'm sure if the man that was killed had a voice, he would say that it was wrong that she killed him. It may have been that it was self defense, but we're not justifying her actions, just the motive behind her actions. Is killing a person ever 'good', and if it is, should it be up to us as individuals to make that decision based on our feelings? If killing someone is subjective, then I can decide to kill you because I think you look funny and it's ok, because that's what I decided was a good reason to kill someone. That sounds ridiculous, right? But it's subjective, which means the subject, being me, can decide what is right or wrong, and in this case you being funny looking is a good enough reason to kill you (I don't really think you're funny looking).

I maintain that certain things are inherently wrong (i.e. murder, lying, stealing, cheating). Just because we can justify the reasons we do these things doesn't make it right. The opinion of people as to whether someone deserved it or not is irrelevant. Ask yourself how YOU want to be treated, and what would be the fair way to treat YOU, and then those things become objective. I don't think there is ever a good reason for someone to lie to ME, to steal from ME, to cheat ME. If I am the object of the actions, there are things that all of us would agree are right and wrong. If you don't agree, tell me that it's ok with you that someone lies, cheats, or steals from you and I will concede (and then proceed to lie, cheat, and steal from you).

I still love you Hansman - none of this is personal!
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#19 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

I'm a bit late to the party but, I would have to say that a person doesn't decide what is right/wrong. Society sets those rules.

Look at the Mayans. The human sacrifices they made to get rain was not a morally wrong practice back then. They viewed it as an honor to be selected. Now, if the same were to happen today? Not so much.

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#20 hansman1982

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

Don't worry Tommy, your veiled threats to kill me because I am better looking aren't offending me...

I think your stance can be summed up (partially) by the Just War Theory. While war (or killing, cheating, lying, stealing, etc...) are bad, there are times were it is necessary. When it is necessary (killing in self-defense, lying to protect others (like saying you have no idea of the Bin Laden operation when it is going on to protect SEAL Team 6), stealing to prevent starvation) it is the duty of the "bad person" to ensure that suffering is kept to a minimum.

So in this case we have killing for a whim, bad - killing for self-defense, ok - killing anyone I know/am close to, bad.
Stealing for a whim, bad - stealing for self-preservation, ok - stealing from me/anyone I am close to, bad.
Lying for a whim, bad - lying to protect others, ok - lying to Bin Laden about the operation to kill him, bad.

To Tim's point, human sacrifice was ok thousands of years ago, now it's bad. Heck, in ancient Rome is was normal to have sex with boys. In WWII it was acceptable to carpet bomb factory complexes knowing that there would be some collateral damage. Today, if a bomb even thinks about killing an "innocent" it is mass-hysteria. Today, government welfare is wide-spread and accepted as the norm by many. 100 years ago a pox would have been placed on your house for thinking such things.

I am only using this as an example and I don't want to get into this debate.

Take the issue of marriage. 1 man and 1 woman or 2 women or 2 men getting married is socially acceptable. 2 men and 2 women or 3 women or 3 men or a whole village getting married is not. Now why was the line drawn there? Or, why is it not acceptable for me to marry my sister (who doesn't exist), brother, cousin, mother, father, etc...? This is a completely arbitrary setting of "right and wrong". However, this is where society has set the bar. That has happened in the last 10 years.

So, I think Tim is right. Right/Wrong/Integrity is subjective, not on a personal level but as a society. Now, what society determines to be right and wrong becomes objective.

#21 Tommy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

Don't worry Tommy, your veiled threats to kill me because I am better looking aren't offending me...

:angry:
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#22 Tommy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:49 PM

I'm a bit late to the party but, I would have to say that a person doesn't decide what is right/wrong. Society sets those rules.

Look at the Mayans. The human sacrifices they made to get rain was not a morally wrong practice back then. They viewed it as an honor to be selected. Now, if the same were to happen today? Not so much.

ok Timbo, time to pick on you.

Question:
  • You say society sets the rules of right and wrong, good and evil? First, let me make sure that I understand that you are saying that?
  • Abortion is legal in the United States and illegal in Ireland. Does that mean that if you live here and move to Ireland, once you get to Ireland abortion goes from being right and/or good to being wrong and/or evil once you get to Ireland since the law of the land changes? I don't need to know which way you lean on the abortion issue, but I am going to venture you wouldn't change the way you felt about that issue regardless of where you were at or what the laws of the country you were in said. Am I right?
  • Are you saying that what society deems acceptable sets the rules for right and wrong? If that is the case, how would you explain Nazi Germany?

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#23 Tommy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

btw, I hope I'm not coming across the wrong way here. If my posts read confrontational, they aren't meant to be. I really respect and like all you regulars on the message boards and consider you my internet fellow Cub fan friends. I do enjoy a good debate now and then, though, and this is a very interesting and passionate subject of mine.

So please, I hope nobody takes anything I say here as a personal attack. I'm just trying to have a friendly debate with folks I respect who happen to have a different opinion than me. If I do say something out of line, by all means, call me a dick. ;)

Where's TWC when you need him!
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#24 TWC

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

btw, I hope I'm not coming across the wrong way here. If my posts read confrontational, they aren't meant to be. I really respect and like all you regulars on the message boards and consider you my internet fellow Cub fan friends. I do enjoy a good debate now and then, though, and this is a very interesting and passionate subject of mine.

So please, I hope nobody takes anything I say here as a personal attack. I'm just trying to have a friendly debate with folks I respect who happen to have a different opinion than me. If I do say something out of line, by all means, call me a dick. ;)

Where's TWC when you need him!


Jeez.. what a dick this Tommy kid is.

#25 Tommy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:24 PM

Jeez.. what a dick this Tommy kid is.


Ahhh, everything just feels right now!
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#26 Luke

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

Historically, right and wrong tend to be defined by the people with enough power to enforce their definition on everyone else. And that, of course, calls into question the meaning of 'right', 'wrong', 'good', and 'evil'.

If we scrub those terms off the board for a minute, I think we can easily conceptualize (and mathematically model, I might add) nearly all of human history in terms of who has power and what benefits them.

To use the abortion example: it is legal in the US because Women are a powerful voting block and they, broadly speaking, want it legal. So it is. And it is illegal in Ireland because the Catholics want it illegal, and in Ireland the Catholic block has more power than the Women block. When the Women have more power than the Catholics, the law will change. Good and evil, right and wrong, they don't need to enter the conversation in order to effectively model events.

Or to take the Nazi example: what they did was not done because they had a correct or incorrect definition of right or wrong. It was done because the easiest way for a minority party to stay in power is to make sure the population governed by the minority is in fear of someone else or distracted by some external event. It's why Argentina is being belligerent about the Falklands right now as their economy slowly collapses. It's why North Korea keeps setting off rockets and bombs and making blustery speeches about kicking American ass. It's why Iran keeps ranting about slaughtering all the Jews and destroying Israel once and for all. The Nazi's are essentially a horrific and extreme case of that same sort of behavior.

Human sacrifice wasn't performed by the Mayans because it was right. It was performed because no one was powerful enough to challenge the priests, and the priests found it useful to keep the population under control. Good and evil don't enter the equation. And I mean equation in the literal, mathematical sense. When we write the equations that model human behavior, good and evil are not terms that are found in that equation.

That's where the debates regarding PEDs in baseball break down. We try to define it terms of right and wrong, but right and wrong don't really factor into it. It's a question of competing self interests. I think we, as a society, have changed our behavior regarding PEDs because the dominant self interest has changed. In the 90s the owners and the players had their way; drugs = fans = profits = fat contracts. Then, somehow, and I'm not sure how, the other view became more powerful and began stating that baseball = history = numbers = drugs mess with the numbers. Maybe the league saw it as a way to wrest some power from the union (notice that the PED era ushered in the longest era of labor peace in, like, forever). Maybe Jose Canseco is that powerful (not bloodly likely). Maybe the fans decided that history really is that important (even less likely, I think).

But what I don't think is that what happened had anything to do with right and wrong. That didn't change, but it didn't need to. It was never a factor to begin with.

And now I'll go back to my classic science fiction writers and ponder how those guys got so much right when no one was taking them seriously. Half this country's problems would be solved in a generation if we'd make reading Heinlein and his ilk a requirement for high school graduation.

#27 Tommy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:45 AM

I grok what you're saying, Luke. But Heinlein lost me with all the orgy scenes. ;)
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#28 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:18 AM


I'm a bit late to the party but, I would have to say that a person doesn't decide what is right/wrong. Society sets those rules.

Look at the Mayans. The human sacrifices they made to get rain was not a morally wrong practice back then. They viewed it as an honor to be selected. Now, if the same were to happen today? Not so much.

ok Timbo, time to pick on you.

Question:
  • You say society sets the rules of right and wrong, good and evil? First, let me make sure that I understand that you are saying that?
  • Abortion is legal in the United States and illegal in Ireland. Does that mean that if you live here and move to Ireland, once you get to Ireland abortion goes from being right and/or good to being wrong and/or evil once you get to Ireland since the law of the land changes? I don't need to know which way you lean on the abortion issue, but I am going to venture you wouldn't change the way you felt about that issue regardless of where you were at or what the laws of the country you were in said. Am I right?
  • Are you saying that what society deems acceptable sets the rules for right and wrong? If that is the case, how would you explain Nazi Germany?

  • Yes
  • I don't think that right/wrong is necessarily legal/illegal. There is also going to be a bit of a cross-over on certain issues from person to person. As a general rule of thumb though, I still believe it is set by society as a whole. As Luke pointed out some issues come down to who has the most power and who stands to gain the most when your talking about legality.
  • Nazi was a power grab. I think that Luke stated it fairly well. I'll just add that there were many Germans that didn't agree with what the Nazi party was doing. Most were too afraid to say or do anything about it for fear of going to one of the camps.

"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

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#29 Tommy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

I agree with your 3rd point: the people that disagreed knew that the things that were being done were inherently wrong!
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#30 hansman1982

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

With Nazi Germany the decreed that anyone who wasn't "German" enough for them was the root of their plight. Using subliminal messaging they got the average person in Germany to think that the Jews weren't really that great of sub-humans and needed to be hauled off to camps to protect society.

Similar things were done on the West Coast of the US during WWII with the Japanese, the Indian Reservations, HIV positive people through the 80's and 90's.

The question then becomes, how can we judge them if their societies deemed it ok. That is up to the individual's moral code; which, incidentially, is shaped by society.




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