Means and ends for kindergartners

May 17, 2017 § 113 Comments

There has been a bit of ‘reactosphere’ discussion of means and ends lately.

Unsurprisingly, the aphorism ‘the end doesn’t justify the means’ is ridiculed in its strawman form: basically ‘No means is ever justified by any end.’

I’m always here to help though, and Miss Suzy asked me to visit on Talk To A Grownup Day.  So get out your crayons and let me rephrase the aphorism for the class.

The non-strawman version goes like this:

“Good ends don’t justify evil means.”

That’s a lot to take in, I know, so that is probably enough for one day.

§ 113 Responses to Means and ends for kindergartners

  • jaxglaukopis says:

    Hi Zippy,

    I actually made an argument against consequentialism (which is related to the idea of “the ends justify the means”) the last few days on my blog. It would be cool if you gave it a look. I basically attempted to strengthen the demandingness objection to consequentialism and demonstrate how we actually can never truly know what the ends will be, so justifying the means with the ends makes no sense.

    https://nightsinaporia.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/decisions-context-consequentialism-and-demandingness/

    If you remove the link or decide to delete the comment I understand. This isn’t self promotion. I would just appreciate your feedback on the ideas I present.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Funny! One supposes there are those for whom ‘the ends don’t justify the means’ is to be taken quite literally; I have always (or at least as far back as I can recall contemplating the meaning of the phrase) thought of it (not word-for-word but) more in terms of your version. Fairly obviously I should think [good] ends don’t justify [evil] means.

  • TomD says:

    Hmmm.

    1. “Good ends don’t justify evil means.”

    2. “Evil ends don’t justify good means.”

    3. “Evil ends don’t justify evil means.”

    4. “Good ends don’t justify good means.”

    I’m not even certain #4 is true, properly speaking. Or maybe it’s just obvious, but “justify” sounds strange to me there.

  • Tom:
    I think “justification” would be properly discussed in the case of morally neutral means. If we do something morally neutral so that good may come of it, the morally neutral act becomes morally good in that particular situation.

  • Mike T says:

    Behind every smirk at the expense of that saying is a time preference insufficiently long to see that the ultimate end is salvation or damnation.

  • I had to go look up aphorism. Sounded like a bug to me.

    Long ago we used to understand that doing the right thing is often painful, hard, and sure to bring bad results, but do the right thing anyway. Or the more cynical version, “no good deed goes unpunished.” We’re really losing sight of that concept.

  • GJ says:

    Behind every smirk at the expense of that saying is a time preference insufficiently long to see that the ultimate end is salvation or damnation.

    In practice, it’s simply people trying to ignore or downplay the bad ends in favour of the ones desired.

  • Why do you think you feel the need to be insulting in order to make your point?

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    At least three reasons.

    First, because the manly men of reaction who post this kind of nonsense won’t even hear a milquetoast response. At the risk of breaking the first rule of fight club, I’ll point out that the second rule of fight club is to bring your fists. I always do my best to speak to others in a language they understand.

    Second, it is true that when you demonstrate the ridiculousness and childishness of ridiculous and childish claims the folks who hear it may not like what they hear. But bloody noses do tend to help people think. The fact that shame works to curb shameful behavior is one of the truths that some of the current reaction has rediscovered. Here I provide a concrete case in point.

    Third, because responding to ridiculous strawmen as if they were something other than ridiculous strawmen can cause scandal by creating the impression that the ridiculous strawman is a respectable opinion.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Winstonscrooge:

    As Zippy implies in reason #1, all men are *not* “equal” and are therefore not all equally persuaded by a “winning the hearts and minds” approach. With certain persons they grasp concepts better if you are just straight up with them and get right to the nut cuttin’.

    Zippy:

    Nice response! I was secretly hoping for something more along the lines of “because I am a hopeless psychotic who belongs in a crazy house.” Ha, ha.

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    I was secretly hoping for something more along the lines of “because I am a hopeless psychotic who belongs in a crazy house.”

    The problem with that response is that if I actually am insane I’d likely be the last person to know it. Once you grasp that it becomes clear that first person claims about sanity are self-refuting.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Very true. But I still think it would have been appropriate (and humorous) given the ‘do you think something might be psychologically wrong with you?’ nature of scrooge’s question (at least the way I understood it).

  • “[S]hame works to curb shameful behavior…”

    I think this is true only in a very limited sense. What usually happens is that when a person is shamed for a particular behavior he may or may not actually stop that behavior but he will also harbor a resentment against the person who shamed him. If he is not aware of this dynamic he will then seek out an opportunity to shame someone else as a means of making himself feel better about himself. In this way, shame tends to spread like a passive aggressive virus.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    What usually happens is that when a person is shamed for a particular behavior he may or may not actually stop that behavior but he will also harbor a resentment against the person who shamed him.

    I don’t really mind if people resent me for any role I’ve played in helping them give up stupid ideas and behaviors.

    If he is not aware of this dynamic he will then seek out an opportunity to shame someone else as a means of making himself feel better about himself.

    Stipulating the model, in this particular case it would be moot. I can hardly be blamed for catalyzing folks to do something they are already doing.

    Also, you might have noticed that I didn’t actually provide links. I did that on purpose, to present a face saving opportunity to those in the grips of this particular bit of childish lunacy.

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    He is just trying desperately to understand how it is that I am not a jackass.

  • Just trying to open your eyes to a dynamic you might not be aware of so that you can be clear as to your actual motives.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    OK, fair enough. But some might interpret your posts as an attempt to shame me away from behaviors you consider bad.

  • People are free to draw any conclusions they want I suppose.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    People are free to draw any conclusions they want I suppose.

    People will draw their own conclusions, of course. As always though some of those conclusions will be correct and some will be incorrect.

  • You may be right Terry. The impression I get in this instance is that there is something else going on. But again, I could be wrong.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Winstonscrooge:

    Thanks for that. Yes, I do believe I am right about Zippy’s motivations, but only Zippy can say for sure.

  • Ok. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and not believe that he derives sadistic pleasure by shaming other people while disguising this motivation under a cloak of virtue.

  • Zippy says:

    I don’t know what I would do with myself if passive aggressive strangers in Internet comboxes were unwilling to give me the benefit of the doubt. I might have to curl up into a ball and have a good cry.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy:

    I can make you a safe space if you think that will help. 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    I’m so triggered. Someone in the world might not like me or approve of me. It is intolerable.

  • Wood says:

    winstonscrooge,

    I don’t know the background to this post at all, so maybe I’m missing some context(?) but, man, the bombs you’re just casually dropping over a post, the substance of which I assume, you would agree with? A LOT of what Zippy has written is pointing out the hell that can break loose when people screw up the whole “ends and means” business. If you agree that that hell is breaking loose all the time before our eyes, then why begrudge someone – who often goes it alone – tossing a few punches?

  • Zippy says:

    Wood:

    One question is, why would someone who finds my long-established writing style annoying read here at all, let alone comment just to complain about the writing style?

    I think winstonscrooge secretly loves it. He just can’t quit me.

  • There is a little history in that I have witnessed this behavior in the past. As for agreeing with his post I have no idea what he is referring to.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    There is a little history in that I have witnessed this behavior in the past.

    So a little shaming of bad behavior here and there is a good thing after all?

  • Zippy says:

    (Though only, of course, when done with pristine motives and solely salutary effects like when you do it.)

  • Do you feel ashamed?

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    Do you feel ashamed?

    Of course not.

    This generally isn’t a blog about feelings or psychology, but in this case I’ll make an exception.

    I feel both amused and bemused that you are so oblivious to your own hypocrisy, and seem to think that it isn’t transparent to everyone reading.

    Since your first encounter with my blog one of your primary themes has been to attempt to shame myself and my readers and to psychoanalyze us remotely. Classic passive-aggressive; classic Church Lady faux moral superiority.

    Classic irony.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Winstonscrooge:

    Shaming is shaming whether your target has thick skin or thin. Your question is irrelevant.

  • Do you enjoy shaming others?

  • Zippy says:

    I especially enjoy feasting on the blood of my enemies and listening to the lamentations of their women.

  • djz242013 says:

    Is it possible to ask “Do you enjoy shaming others?” in a non-shame-inducing manner?

  • Mike T says:

    I especially enjoy feasting on the blood of my enemies and listening to the lamentations of their women.

    If that were true in Current Year America, you’d have a harem to rival Genghis Khan.

  • donnie says:

    Just trying to open your eyes to a dynamic you might not be aware of so that you can be clear as to your actual motives.

    I wonder if Winston isn’t being remarkably consistent here.

    Winston doesn’t agree with Zippy’s views on authority, obviously, but he also doesn’t agree with Zippy’s habit of expressing his views authoritatively.

    Winston has his own views, of course, but he also has different ideas about how he ought to present those views. He offers them up as above, “Just trying to open your eyes…”

    In a way, it’s as if Winston is trying his best to be consistently liberal here. He doesn’t say, “Hey, Zippy, you’re acting like an internet jackass”, because stating something to that effect authoritatively is not something he thinks is called for. Certainly not by equals on the free and open internet.

    But here at Zippy Catholic, we’re authoritarians for the most part. So we don’t mind if you authoritatively pronounce us to be internet jackasses. Go right ahead.

    It’s a safe space.

  • I believe I have called him out for being insulting. Apparently that is a greater crime than being insulting in the first place.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    I believe I have called him out for being insulting.

    And that is or is not an attempt at shaming?

    Donnie is right: the dynamic of this very discussion demonstrates the cognitively dissonant behavior of the modern person as he simultaneously attempts to shame/assert authority/etc while denying that that is what he is doing.

  • I’m not denying that is what I am doing.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    I’m not denying that is what I am doing.

    Welcome to the echo chamber.

  • Do you deny enjoying the shaming of others?

  • Zippy says:

    Do you enjoy attempting to shame me?

  • Mike T says:

    I believe I have called him out for being insulting. Apparently that is a greater crime than being insulting in the first place.

    Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. More times still, there’s a question of whether you have a right to say it.

  • Terry Morris says:

    winstonscrooge:

    I’m not denying that is what I am doing.

    Progress! Nice!

  • Mike T says:

    Counting this comment, only roughly 6% of comments here are on-topic. I think we have a new record to beat.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Well the thread got derailed before Zippy got a chance to present us with part 2 of the lesson. Nevertheless I still have my crayons at the ready.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Every now and then we have to have a thread about what a big meany I am among all my other manifest flaws and psychological defects. Folks just have to have the chance to get it out of their system, and it doesn’t bother me, so it is all for the best.

  • Mike T says:

    I think Vox Day still has you beat, what with how he started the irrational atheist by telling the reader that he honestly really doesn’t care if they go to Hell, but if they are going to choose Hell, they should at least not choose it for the reasons advocated by the New Atheists.

  • There is a certain satisfaction gained in fighting fire with fire.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    That’s just because in my soft fuzzy sentimentalism I actually do care whether folks are or aren’t going to Hell. Which kinda at least indirectly loops us back around to the actual subject of the OP.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    So you in fact derive satisfaction from your attempts to shame me?

  • Yes. It is justice. Now you answer my question.

  • Zippy says:

    This raises the question of when it is and isn’t shameful to derive any sort of satisfaction from shaming.

    When folks embrace consequentialism that just leads to things like incinerating cities full of innocent civilians to win a war. No big deal really, when you think about it.

    When consequentialism is ridiculed, though, and embracing it generically (without targeting any particular persons) is shamed, that makes people on the Internet mad. This is obviously much more important than the piles of corpses left in the wake of consequentialism.

    From this it should be obvious that shaming consequentialism is something only deeply morally flawed people would do. But if someone says something that makes Internet consequentialists feel insulted; now that makes those particular persons a legitimate target for a satisfying personal “calling out”.

    Because every day is opposite day.

  • This isn’t the only example of your behavior. Is there some reason why you are avoiding the question?

  • djz242013 says:

    zippy has never (in my experience) answered a direct question. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for him to, but….

  • Zippy says:

    It is true that I almost never answer direct personal questions. And that I do my best to answer subject-matter relevant questions. That is part of my charm.

    winstonscrooge introduced the idea that sometimes satisfaction from shaming is justified, and sometimes it isn’t — about which we agree.

    Where we disagree is when in particular this is the case. winstonscrooge believes satisfaction from specific shaming of particular persons he thinks have said something insulting is justified. But satisfaction from shaming generically an ideological position responsible for the slaughter of countless innocents is unjustified.

    And that is an actual substantive disagreement, beyond the generic background that I am an uncouth insulting meany whose blog he can’t help himself from continuing to read.

  • I think zippy does not want to admit that my psychoanalyzing from afar has been accurate.

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:
    Whatever makes you feel satisfied.

  • djz242013 says:

    The real direct personal question here is why none of us have anything better to do on a Friday night.

  • Wood says:

    winstonscrooge,

    I really don’t get it. It’s like being upset that someone “shamed” an abortion provider. And I can’t believe we’re even talking about “shaming” in the context of a non-vulgar, no name-calling post in which the most insulting terms were crayons and Miss Suzy?!? It’s as if you either don’t really think consequentialism is utterly wicked or you just have some faux-curmudgeonly axe to grind??

  • Terry Morris says:

    winstonscrooge:

    I think zippy does not want to admit that my psychoanalyzing from afar has been accurate.

    What is your professional diagnosis? Just for the record.

  • Zippy says:

    Jaxgloukopis:

    (I am referencing this comment upthread.)

    Your argument in your post reminds me of this from the encyclical Veritatis Splendour:

    Moreover, everyone recognizes the difficulty, or rather the impossibility, of evaluating all the good and evil consequences and effects — defined as pre-moral — of one’s own acts: an exhaustive rational calculation is not possible. How then can one go about establishing proportions which depend on a measuring, the criteria of which remain obscure? How could an absolute obligation be justified on the basis of such debatable calculations?

    Your point that we can’t even know all of the really possible ends we might pursue in a given moment, let alone all possible means, let alone calculate the consequences, really nails it home.

    Interesting point also that the libertarian “no harm” principle is a kind of consequentialism. I hadn’t though of that before, but I think you are right.

  • TomD says:

    djz242013: Duty Calls

  • Zippy says:

    Wood:

    It’s as if you [winstonscrooge] either don’t really think consequentialism is utterly wicked or you just have some faux-curmudgeonly axe to grind??

    Saying something disparaging about Communism or Nazism or the KKK is evidence of psychological and moral flaws. Especially when crayons are involved.

    Or maybe, while consequentialism is in fact objectively a heretical, pernicious, vicious, wicked lie from the pit of Hell which has been used to rationalize all manner of atrocities, folks who wouldn’t mind me disparaging the KKK or the Nazis (and who might even call that justice) sometimes become upset when I disparage consequentialism — because of their own commitments.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy:

    Or maybe, while consequentialism is in fact objectively a heretical, pernicious, vicious, wicked lie from the pit of Hell which has been used to rationalize all manner of atrocities, folks who wouldn’t mind me disparaging the KKK or the Nazis (and who might even call that justice) sometimes become upset when I disparage consequentialism — because of their own commitments.

    We should all spend more time (as do our right-thinking liberal interlocutors) studying the SPLC website so’s we can rightly determine which kinds of consequentialism and hatred are the good and noble and righteous kinds of hatred and consequentialism, and which kinds are not.

  • Zippy says:

    In my previous comment I forgot to add “not to mention plainly and obviously and childishly stupid” to my list of characterizations of consequentialism.

  • Zippy says:

    Terry Morris:

    As previously explained, hatred means being the kind of jerk that every right thinking person despises.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy:

    Yes, I have it scribbled at the bottom of my page in blue crayon. (I chose blue crayon because, well, blue is my favorite color and it seems to annoy certain of my ideological enemies.)

  • Mike T says:

    Interesting point also that the libertarian “no harm” principle is a kind of consequentialism. I hadn’t though of that before, but I think you are right.

    Generally, it’s called the “non-initiation of force principle,” which is actually even more ludicrous because it encompasses that way of stating it and a rejection of preemptive force when someone is giving you credible reason to believe they are preparing to use illicit force against you. It’s also rather significant that the “non-initiation of force principle” is like “freedom and equality” in that it has no one true, definitive meaning. Many states actually at least partially implement it, much to many libertarians’ chagrin, as “duty to retreat” laws. The authorities are not wrong, they are merely taking a very ugly interpretation on that that is more extreme than most libertarians want.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Interesting take on liberalism and imperialism. The author seems to nail the liberal order pretty hard. I haven’t seen you address liberalism from this angle, but I think he is absolutely correct that liberal imperialism resorts to undermining foreign authorities rather than straight forward use of force most of the time because an actual exercise of power that leads to an authority-based relationship between us and the conquered would be unthinkable to the liberal mind. Ironically, though, it would actually provide a more peaceful and dignified relationship because it would be one where the imperial subjects could actually negotiate aspects of their relationship with honest language and place their own moral demands on us an imperial power.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    The constant pattern is that liberalism most certainly exercises authority, shames and purges heretics, conquers and rules, rounds up undesirables and murders them, etc. But it does so clinically, under the pretense that its rule simply is a background of dispassionate reason keeping the peace between parties who would otherwise be violently at each others’ throats.

  • Zippy says:

    IOW another way of understanding the point I made here is to observe that liberalism naturally tends toward empire as it finds more and more people who need to be set free, good and hard.

  • Terry Morris says:

    Zippy:

    The constant pattern is that liberalism most certainly exercises authority, shames and purges heretics, conquers and rules, rounds up undesirables and murders them, etc. But it does so clinically, under the pretense that its rule simply is a background of dispassionate reason keeping the peace between parties who would otherwise be violently at each others’ throats.

    Right. And the closer this all comes to home the more some of us wonder whether we will be liberalism’s/gnosticism’s next victim. A traditionalist worth his salt would be an utter fool to believe liberalism will perpetually act as though he isn’t there and not presenting a threat.

  • Mike T says:

    IOW another way of understanding the point I made here is to observe that liberalism naturally tends toward empire as it finds more and more people who need to be set free, good and hard.

    There is a certain dark irony in a country founded on the words of Jefferson in the Declaration forcefully altering and abolishing the preferred government of a foreign people.

  • Mike T says:

    The constant pattern is that liberalism most certainly exercises authority, shames and purges heretics, conquers and rules, rounds up undesirables and murders them, etc.

    Liberalism sounds like a centuries long attempt to gaslight Western civilization.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    There is a certain dark irony in a country founded on the words of Jefferson in the Declaration forcefully altering and abolishing the preferred government of a foreign people.

    Current American practice appears entirely in line with the past’s.

    I gather the excuse for annexing the Indians’ land is that they had no formal state or code of laws; the current excuse is that they do not have the Current Year’s conception of legitimate authority: some governments are not (de facto) liberal democracies, so they must go.

    but I think he is absolutely correct that liberal imperialism resorts to undermining foreign authorities rather than straight forward use of force most of the time because an actual exercise of power that leads to an authority-based relationship between us and the conquered would be unthinkable to the liberal mind.

    The liberal cannot conceive of himself (or his community) as oppressive.

    “You’re the real racist!”
    “No, you are!”

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    The most amusing part of that article is after detailing the author’s view of how American hegemony is terrible, he blithely describes China winning as ‘not a good outcome’ as if it would be any worse.

  • Mike T says:

    I gather the excuse for annexing the Indians’ land is that they had no formal state or code of laws

    In many cases, the Indians had no natural law claim to the land because they didn’t permanently settle it. A nomad who happens to use the land seasonally as he passes through is not the same consideration as someone who has settled the land and mixed their labor with it, particularly over generations and without competing claims to the land. Now, some Indian nations did have such claims to the land, but many did not.

    as if it would be any worse.

    It depends on whose perspective. From the perspective of Africa, American imperialism is preferable. White Americans largely want nothing to do with Africa aside from trade and missionary work; Chinese are quite happy to move to Africa and colonize it. From the African perspective, they are trading “free #$%^ that comes with the occasional meddling” for being displaced by an alien people. I’d call that much worse.

  • jaxglaukopis says:

    @zippy

    Thank you for the kind words.

    @Mike T

    In regards to this comment: https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/means-and-ends-for-kindergartners/#comment-40327

    I hadn’t even thought about the whole “initiation of force” aspect. In some ways one could view the NAP or the broader “freedom from harm/interference” element of libertarianism as a more extreme version of JS Mill’s “harm principle” which led to utilitarian liberalism. Which is wonderful because, when you combine two doctrines riddled with internal inconsistency, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Zippy says:

    jaxglaukopis:

    I hadn’t even thought about the whole “initiation of force” aspect.

    The ‘he who initiates force is automatically in the wrong’ principle is just another kindergarten way of begging the question, of avoiding precisely what is at issue, via abstraction. When one man walks across a field and another man brandishes a weapon and tells him to leave, who has initiated force?

  • Mike T says:

    In order to reconcile their “rights” and the NIFP, libertarians have had to adopt a more expansive view of force than any other group. Technically, someone who steals your laptop from your car has not initiated force against you, as you weren’t there to be the target of the force. Libertarians often take the view that property is an extension of the person so they can justify things like your neighbor preemptively using force on the suspicion that your property is being robbed. Strictly speaking, that would be wrong under the NIFP as your neighbor may have no concrete proof it’s a robbery and would thus be initiating force possibly against an innocent party, but libertarians recognize that if they were internally consistent there a citizen’s arrest on suspicion of felonious behavior would be untenable.

  • jaxglaukopis says:

    @zippy

    Very true, the entire idea of initiating force relies on establishing some neutral starting point where nobody has initiated force before. But this is absurd since one can’t actually establish such a “neutral” point.

    @Mike T

    I would also argue they have a rather narrow version of force as well. When it comes to property, they have a very expansive view of force. And yet, when it comes to other social institutions and immaterial coercion, they tend to be rather nonchalant about that stuff in my personal experience.

  • Mike T says:

    jax,

    Libertarians stick to their narrow view of force because understanding the issue as coercion would make it even more untenable and incoherent, as there are plenty of areas where libertarians like to coerce people personally, but they want to remain logically consistent (and many libertarians are spergs, so never lose sight of the importance of logical consistency to them).

  • jaxglaukopis says:

    Mike,

    True, although I would say logically coherent beliefs are always good. That’s one of the few positives of hardcore libertarians. I would argue their biggest problem is that their ideology isn’t based in reality. And obviously the supposed consistency of their ideology breaks down as you break down their language and beliefs.

  • Zippy says:

    Libertarianism is closest to the center of the singularity precisely because of its monomaniacal insistence on applying (insane) liberal principles consistently.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Apropos of this topic:

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/05/mailvox-breivik-saint-or-monster.html

    Even includes a justification by way of Old Testament killings.

  • Mike T says:

    Last night, the policies of the elite of Europe lead to about 20 people, mostly minors, getting blown up as a direct result of the prevailing ideology of multiculturalism backed by the full force of the state. These are the same elites that stridently tell the ordinary European to keep quiet about Pakistani rape gangs and ISIS bombers or they will go to prison for being racist.

    Is that relevant to the morality of what Breivik did? I don’t think so, but it is quite relevant to the question “will future generations probably give the slightest rat #$%^ about what Breivik did.”

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Is that relevant to the morality of what Breivik did?

    No. Note the lack of qualification.

    …but it is quite relevant to the question “will future generations probably give the slightest rat #$%^ about what Breivik did.”

    What does a popularity contest staged in the future have to do with anything? Is that democracy of the not-yet-born?

    The most obvious interpretation of your comment is that sure, consequentialism is bad and all, but the devil made Breivik do it.

    That very mindset is the problem.

    The way for human beings to avoid becoming monsters is to avoid fantasizing about how understandable it would be to become a monster: to avoid consequentialist pornography. Constant indulgence in consequentialist pornography (with the occasional ‘sure it is bad, but …’ thrown in as a virtue signal) unsurprisingly produces consequentialist commitments, as night follows day.

  • Mike T says:

    That’s actually related to my point. Breivik may be a monster, but he is the wicked subject that the wicked rulers deserve. They follow one another as night follows day. In fact, when viewed dispassionately, it is even likely that the surviving children of the elite will go on to continue the policies that create Breiviks and that will in turn harden the elites to double down. The wheel keeps moving, but hamster is too stupid to realize he’s not going anywhere.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Breivik may be a monster, but he is the wicked subject that the wicked rulers deserve.

    The wicked rulers weren’t the ones skewered on the pointy end of the spear. (You can tell by the fact that they aren’t the ones who are dead).

    It would be similar if you said that the wicked Japs got what was coming to them in the atomic bombings, since all of those killed were either Japs or Jap larvae or Jap sympathizers, and (dispassionately viewed of course) the wicked on all sides just got what they deserved.

    Perhaps you can understand why I might demur.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    That very mindset is the problem.

    Since this thread has already been Godwin’ed, allow me to indulge a bit. I think we’re seeing how the Nazis got into power despite Hitler revealing from the very beginning that he was mouth-frothing psychotic. In addition to the man’s undeniable charisma, he had the indulgence of a German populace who likewise felt they were victims (which they were–Versaille was a travesty). Naturally, a nation in tatters will rally around the the biggest voice that stands up for them.

    Numbered among Hitler’s early supporters were Niemoller (of “First they came for the…” fame) and not a few Jews. Of course by the mid Thirties they had long figured out how wrong they were.

    The point I’m trying to make here is that people do mistake subordinate goods for The Good and using consequentialist logic causes much suffering–greater than the original bad they were trying to prevent.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    All this Breivik worship reminds me of something else:

    “He wuz a good boy! He dindu nuffin wrong!”

    …even right down to the “We’re the real victims” logic.

  • Mike T says:

    Actually the Germans were victims after WWI because they bore a particularly unjust peace deal that humiliated them and absolved the victorious European states of their own culpability in the war. No one forced the Russians to declare war. No one forced France and the UK to do the same. No one forced the Treaty of Versailles which was nothing more than bitterness from the knowledge the Germans only failed to whip the allies because of American intervention.

    On some level, evil always loves to operate from a position of partial truth and injustice. In fact, evil prefers to operate from injustice because righteous indignation is a powerful motivator to men to do evil because “he had it coming” and few men can resist the urge and break out of it.

    Hence my comment about the hamster. Man is the hamster. He is too stupid to just get off the wheel and prefers to complain that the scenery isn’t changing.

  • Zippy says:

    Aethelfrith:

    Of course by the mid Thirties they had long figured out how wrong they were.

    It is easier to see while it is butchering people.

  • Mike T says:

    Aethelfrith,

    I am not disagreeing with you and defending Breivik. However, the problem I see with Breivik is that Christians forget that evil begs evil despite our doctrines constantly trying to remind us of that. The elites of Europe are largely committed to an evil ideology, liberalism. Their scions are largely committed to it. When in power, they do evil as a consequence of that commitment, and then are surprised when their victims repay evil with evil. This is much like the modern Japanese posturing about being victims as a nation. The nuclear bombing of Japan was a victimization of particular people who did not deserve it, but on a societal level it was simply evil following evil as a result of their commitment to a terribly evil, unjust war.

  • Zippy says:

    Does anyone know if this copy of Breivik’s manifesto is authentic?

    I probably couldn’t have put together a better sock puppet myself.

    To sum up my findings, I am not totally uncritical of the democratic system, nor do I believe that it automatically translates into individual liberty. Democratic nations may have to undergo significant changes if the system of democracy is to survive this century. The goals should be:

    •A balanced and well-functioning system, which requires free speech;

    •Real restraints upon the power of the ruler, and

    •Equality before the law

    Refreshing the tree [of liberty with the blood of tyrants, citing Jefferson — Z] is now long overdue as our countries are in a rapid state of disintegration. It is VITAL and essential for the survival of European civilisation and each respective Western European country that we refresh the tree of liberty. The intention of the National Resistance Movement is to do exactly that; to refresh the tree of liberty, and obviously not to cut it down. Refreshing the tree of liberty involves a coup supported by a significant portion of European patriots. It is impossible to guarantee a democratically sanctioned coup as we have to keep in mind that Europeans have been brainwashed now for two generations. Many will oppose us for our stance and call us fascist. Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge and understand that we are not. We are not fascists as we do not want a one party state. Only a coup (refreshing the tree of liberty) can ensure the long term survival of the democratic model. All coups involve the temporary suspension of the constitution. Thomas Jefferson himself knew that. However, the goal of the coup is, as stated, not to chop down the tree of liberty but to refresh it.

  • Mike T says:

    The elephant in the room here is that a patriotic, illiberal king from Norway’s past would have likely ordered Breivik, his victims and their parents to all be executed as liberal traitors to the kingdom.

  • Ian says:

    Aethelfrith,

    Thanks for that link. I had been half-wondering whether it was worth my time familiarizing myself with Vox Day, but now I know I can safely ignore him.

  • Proph says:

    winstonscrooge’s arguments are odd.

    First, shaming obviously does work. There is nothing immoral that I can think of about, say, peeing my own pants rather than heading down the hallway to the bathroom.

    Just look at the LGBT movement in the USA: they didn’t win on gay “marriage” because of their stellar reasoning and sound principles and patient, charitable evangelization, but because they seized the moral high ground early on and rained thunderous denunciations on their enemies without cease. Now they’re engaged in legal mop-up jihad with the few stragglers they didn’t manage to butcher.

    Second, that some people are immune to being shamed for their awful/stupid behaviors and are likely to react badly to it (we call those people “sociopaths”) means, at best, that the question of whether to shame particular people for particular behaviors is a prudential judgment. Since not everyone is a sociopath in every respect all the time, some people can, in fact, be meaningfully shamed into altering their behavior (see above example).

    It is obvious that winstonscrooge agrees that whether or not to shame someone is a prudential judgment, since he is himself attempting to shame Zippy.

    Third, the notion that we should never shame because sociopaths are resistant to it makes the whole of society hostage to the moral deformities of sociopaths. It ignores the reality that shaming acts are always witnessed by others, even if the target of shaming is a sociopath, the people around him may not be.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Off topic:

    A re-write of Proph’s last paragraph–

    Third, the notion that we should never [fight back] because [criminals] are [stronger than you] makes the whole of society hostage to the moral deformities of [criminals].

    Again, it’s off topic, but it flies in the face of all the Orwellian “self-defense” advice of giving a robber what he wants.

    Another instance of doublethinky advice was a Dutchman on Quora advising a homo to “keep it down” so as not to offend their Arab “friends.”

  • Mike T,

    I’m not so sure about his victims. Some, probably.

    But, as you pointed out, Breivik too would be executed.

  • Mike T says:

    malcolm,

    From that king’s perspective, they are getting to be old enough to seek to take a high office or the throne and their ideology is one that instigates revolution. If the king didn’t have enough to fear from them simply seeking revenge for executing their parents for treason, the ideology would seal their fate.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that we didn’t execute nearly enough Nazi collaborators and one of Yeltsin’s great sins wasn’t putting the gulag to use as a proper death camp system to exterminate the intellectual and political leadership of the Communist Party.

  • Mike T says:

    malcolm,

    I think part of the problem here is that our society has adopted such a messed up metaphysical view and is so uniquely allergic to violence under any circumstances, that we have lost sight of how our ancestors might actually regard some of the things we advocate politically. You think about what they are actually doing in the name of tolerance, and it is actually openly treason. It’s also large scale treason. I think if anything, modern conservatives would be horrified at even our founding fathers’ handling of it.

  • Zippy says:

    Sure, what we need to counter modernity is more death camps.

  • Mike T says:

    Are you are actually implying that the Communists deserve something less than being sentenced to death for their terrible crimes against their countries?

  • Zippy says:

    Because “death camps” just means criminal justice carried out fairly with no equivocation. So who could object to death camps?

    Really, enough with the shitposting. This isn’t a ‘chan’.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:
    From the African perspective, they are trading “free #$%^ that comes with the occasional meddling”

    You mean ‘aid’ that ever so often feeds corruption, dependency, and solves no root issue.

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