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Discussions of morality often get rather touchy, and there seems to be a uncrossable gap between certain outlooks. I recently noticed an article in Science, the AAAS journal, the May 18th edition, that characterizes this gap rather nicely. The article, titled The New Synthesis in Moral Philosophy, discusses recent research in human morality. For a long time, there was a theory of the rational moral individual weighing the various choices and then making a moral decision. In the new synthesis there has been more emphasis on emotions and emotional responses. Data is not acquired objectively. It is received and given an emotional reaction, and it is the data and this visceral reaction that are used in moral decision making.

The authors describe a study of moral decision making in which there are five axes of morality, and people's sensitivities to these axes can be determined by asking them how much would you have to be paid to violate certain moral principles. For example, how much would it take to get you stick a pin in your hand? How about sticking a pin in the hand of a child you are unfamiliar with? This is a measurement along the harm/care axis. There is also an axis with regards to fairness and reciprocity. Another axis is concerned with in group loyalty. Will you stick up for the side? The fourth axis concerns authority and respect, how one acknowledges one's place in society. The fifth axis deals with purity and sanctity.

They discuss four major principles which I'll simply cite here, since the dicussions are rather lengthy and beyond the scope of this post:

  1. Intuitive Primacy (but Not Dictatorship)
  1. (Moral) Thinking Is for (Social) Doing
  1. Morality Binds and Builds
  1. Morality Is About More Than Harm and Fairness

You should be able to see where this is going by now. After all, this is a political, not a moral or philosophical, blog. There is one very nice clear that seems to sum up what so many of us have observed in dicussions of morality in political discourse. I am going to cite fair use in including a link to a copy of this chart which is at:

http://www.kaleberg.com/...

The vertical axis is sensitivity to a given axis of morality. The horizontal axis is politics, and the moral gap is quite visible. Liberals are concerned with harm and fairness. Conservatives are concerned with authority and sanctity. That is not an easy gap to bridge, especially since liberals are more likely to accept that there are things larger than in group solidarity, though even conservatives have some limits on this as well.

I doubt that very many readers are surprised by this. How else could the forces of darkness and oppression do so much harm and be so unfair and still survive for so long and with such power. As best I can tell, the 18th century European Enlightenment was a unique event, enabled by a very particular set of political, religious, technological and cultural circumstances. As a child of the Enlightenment, I'd hate to see the forces of darkness triumph.

----

The article itself is behind the Science/AAAS pay wall, I'll throw in a link for those who want to look it up online or elsewhere:

http://www.sciencemag.org/...

Originally posted to kaleberg on Thu May 31, 2007 at 09:48 AM PDT.

Poll

I primarily make moral decisions based on

41%60 votes
48%70 votes
1%2 votes
2%4 votes
4%7 votes

| 143 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where's your tip jar? (5+ / 0-)

    nice diary!

    We have no future because our present is too volatile. We only have risk management. The spinning of the given moments scenario. Pattern Recognition. ~W. Gibson

    by Silent Lurker on Thu May 31, 2007 at 10:04:54 AM PDT

  •  I aouldn't vote. (5+ / 0-)

    I tend to decide based on harm and care and fairness. Group loyalty isn't so important--because if I beelive the group i wrong, I'll withhold support. Authority and respect? I respect LEGITIMATE authority, but respect the rights of individuals so long as it does no harm to others.

    Ther is no such thing as sanctity. ALL OF US make mistakes.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu May 31, 2007 at 10:48:35 AM PDT

  •  "Purity and Sanctity" is an interesting metric (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, Halcyon, LNK, g panjandrum

    It seems to me that its flipside is disgust. It helps me understand why right wing media people blow their tops so much, and why their fans seem to love it.

    Liberals are very caught up in trying to understand "strict father" frames (corresponding to authority and respect in your metric), but I think the polarization of society has a deeper basis than that.

    I wonder if you've seen any of the stuff that Jonathan Haidt has written about the role of disgust in social life? It's a fundamental interest for Paul Ekman as well.

    If you're rich you can afford to be stupid, but you won't be rich for long.

    by Flywheel on Thu May 31, 2007 at 11:03:04 AM PDT

    •  Understanding frames (0+ / 0-)

      The frame is the story which comes out of a moral view (of the family metaphor for government).

      You've got to understand the frames to be rhetorically effective.

      The metaphors we use to think about moral situations are the deeper view. Here in this article, we essentially have a description of what moral views people in different parties hold. That's nice, but...

      The metaphors we use to think about morality are the why level of which moral system appeals to us. That's why we spend a lot of time thinking about frames.

  •  Humiliation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass

    is a brilliant text (by William Ian Miller) dealing with the role feelings of humiliation - and notions of "honor" -have on subsequent actions. I realize that this post is about the role of "emotions" in moral judgments, yet what concerns me most around political issues is the behavior of individuals with certain political leanings.
    For example, one may disapprove of Cindy Sheehan's views, or merely disagree with her, but there is some sense in which a vicseral drive or need to verbally assault her goes beyond morals. Such actions preclude reasoned assessment.
    Great post.  I hope I can access your Science article at through the library.

  •  False Conservatives (0+ / 0-)

    I have a different take on the data from the chart, at first glance.

    To me, the close grouping of results as you proceed to the most conservative implies a maturing process. The most conservative group has a better balance, or harmony of moral impulse than the far left split. This split implies somewhat of a disregard for Purity as an ideal, and a lack of emphasis on Authority and Group needs.

    That split corresponds to the moral development of an adolescent, a teenager.

    Note that Fairness and Harm are relational, they require an "other", to have any meaning. Purity implies a morality based on personal conduct without reference to impact on others. This position would emphasize that one's personal actions toward oneself have a moral value, not just those actions that directly effect others.

    I'd like to see the same X axis crossed with recreational drug use and sexual promiscuity. The overemphasis on Harm and Fairness combined with the lack of emphasis on Purity would seem to correspond to the immature attitude that "If I'm not hurting anyone else, my actions must be ok." This is a morally juvenile position, especially if you ascribe to most spiritual teachings.

    Lack of emphasis on Purity results in decadence, decadence results in weakened personal character, weakened personal character, spread across a society, leads to a weakened society, one lacking the strength to fight to survive when under crisis.

    It's awfully hard to compete in a marketplace, recover from a disaster, or fight a war when a large percentage of your people are in the thrall of drugs and porn.

    The lack of regard for Authority and Group needs on the left is another statement of immaturity. Survival depends on group cohesion, and group cohesion is based on an authority structure. These two combined relate to "squared-awayness", the ability to form a group to efficiently achieve a goal.

    The higher regard for Group and Authority motives explains the old saw that "at least conservatives can make the trains run on time."

    I think this graph, and subsequent analysis pretty well explains why genuine conservatives tend to appear more "adult" than liberals.

    The crowd posing as conservatives right now do not have a place on this graph, however, and they are the real enemy, for now. They are False Conservatives. The split you see on this graph on the left will be reversed for them, with a few subtle yet profound exceptions. Authority will be highest, with Group slightly trailing. There must be an asterisk next to their Group ranking, and it's the same asterisk the mafia would need. Their Group morality is not based on all of us, a sensitivity to the "oneness" of humanity. No, it is merely based on their little Group versus everyone else. The False Conservative's Group priorities are entirely defined by "us vs. them", which is an inherently immoral position.

    Purity will also be very high, but with yet another asterisk. These False Conservatives simply know how to create a façade of purity, but they have no concern for the real thing. False Conservatives are hypocrites, thus, theirs is the corrupted purity of the self-righteous. (Think: Newt Gingrich dumping his wife at her cancer sickbed, marrying the woman he was cheating on her with, and then confessing to a fake preacher with an evangelical audience, while stumping for eventual votes.)

    Harm and Fairness will be lowest, but they deserve asterisks as well, since False Conservatives do not care about who they injure, or who they exploit, in the pursuit of their objectives.

    To analyze the False Conservative accurately, you'd need two graphs. One based on their responses, what they want us to see, and one based on their behaviors, how they actually conduct themselves. The pretense graph would appear as described above, Authority very high, with Group just under that, even with Purity, while Harm and Fairness are lower, but still very high on the chart. This is the inflated perception they need others to believe in.

    But the reality of their actions would reveal a starkly different picture for these False Conservatives. Authority would still be nearly maxed, but all of the other values would be in the cellar.

    This graph, the moral reality of the False Conservative, would be the profile of the selfish exploiter. And these people are Evil, by any ethical standard, any spiritual teaching, on any graph.

    Been mystified about why these False Conservatives seem to have no concern for the environment? Why they seem to delight in invading and controlling people's private lives while allow rapacious corporations to run rampant, unchecked? Appear to have an infinite capacity to lie, without conscience, to the point of artfulness? How they can proclaim pious loyalty to the military while squandering those very soldier's lives on a fool's errand?

    Just look at the reality of their actions plotted on that graph of morality, and it should all become clear. Selfish exploiters. False Conservatives. Devoid of morality.

    Real, genuine Conservatives are not like this. They are actually good guys, and they are an endangered species in the Republican party right now. The mature liberals, progressives, moderates, non-corrupt Democrats, and Independents really need to root the real Conservatives out and team up with them. We all have the same agenda, the survival of the Constitution, and any other differences pale in that light, and should be put aside.

    A few links:

    Check out Ron Paul's appearance on Bill Mahr's show:
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    He's a good guy. And Sean Hannity tried to excoriate him after the FOX debate (Note the poll scroll at the bottom showing Paul at #2 among FOX viewers!!! He was later #1 on their website. Ouch.):
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    Truth Teller's are the enemy of these False Conservatives. They're trying to figure out how to exclude him from any other Republican debates.

    If you're into this topic of morality and this current crop of Bushites, you really need to read John Dean's book, "Conservatives Without Conscience".
    http://www.amazon.com/...

    Dean identifies these types as "authoritarians", and has found a bunch of peer reviewed scholarly work that sheds light on how and why they do what they do, and just how damaging they can be. He also clearly explains why these people are not "real" conservatives. (Apparently, before his death, Barry Goldwater was set to co-author this book with Dean.)

    •  perhaps your "false conservatives" (0+ / 0-)

      are on the graph farther to the right, past the convergence point, so that the group and authority are above harm and fairness? That would put what you are calling true conservatives in the middle of it all.

      •  The False Dilemma (0+ / 0-)

        Wow. Surprised anyone read this. I actually wrote it as a sort of exercise, off the cuff.

        'perhaps your "false conservatives" ... are on the graph farther to the right, past the convergence point...' - Wee Mama

        I believe that the right/left, liberal/conservative dichotomy is so limiting, and has been so over- and misused that its presence often does more conceptual harm than good. I see it as kind of like a trap, if you believe in it too much, you've fallen into a conceptual hole that will drastically limit your ability to grasp political reality, in all its multiple dimensions.

        This is made worse because of the drumbeats of ideological tribalism. Rush Limbaugh's great sin against the American political scene was conning millions of average Joe's into thinking that they belonged to his tribe of "conservatives". First, they weren't actually conservatives, Limbaugh represents False Conservatives. Second, once he got those people ego-attached to his tribe, it has become next to impossible to convince most of them that they've been hornswoggled.

        After they joined the False Conservative tribe, and the tribe picked up real momentum, in workplaces and churches across the country, it was an easy sell to get them to watch their own special tribal news channel, FOX Noise. Now, even though it is becoming more and more apparent that the tribal leadership has betrayed them, and is acting exactly NOT in their best interests on multiple issues (trade, Iraq, etc.), and that their news sources and opinion makers are merely propagandists, getting most of these folks to abandon that tribe as a sham and accept reality is like getting someone to root against their own high school football team and for their cross-town rival.

        Once ego-attached to a tribe, most people simply cannot bring themselves to accept the reality of betrayal of tribal leadership, no matter how glaring the evidence. They will stand and fight to the death, rather than admit that they were wrong, were duped in their naiveté , and need to find a new tribe, with leadership of higher character, and principles which actually match their own.

        So a lot of good people, "real" conservatives, are lost, permanently ego-attached to the False Conservatives, never to be swayed. George Bush can attack Iran after a Tonkin Gulf-esque concocted provocation, initiate the draft, institute martial law once the inevitable mass protests break out, suspend the Constitution and declare himself Caesar, and these people will NEVER admit that the False Conservatives were false, wrong, and responsible for the failure of our Constitution. It will be the fault of those damn "lib'rals", just like Rush said.

        Add that group of ego-attached folks to the genuinely Evil mass of False Conservatives, who see the Republican party and evangelical Christianity as an excellent mechanism of control and exploitation, and you've got that 28% of Kool-Aid drinkers who still think Bush is doing a good job...

        Very scary.

        Democrats, however, are suffering from exactly the same tribal issue right now. In a two week period, right before Memorial Day, Democratic leadership has betrayed every single element of their election mandate, every one. They voted to ban safe, cheaper drug imports from Canada, at the hand of Big Pharma. They gutted their lobbying restrictions. They snuck out another batch of exploitive "free" trade deals, the details of which are still secret, even from most party members. And of course they caved in to Bush in a most humiliating way on the Iraq war, and then lied, bald-faced, to their own party faithful as they did so.

        Health care, cleaning up the Culture of Corruption, Fair Trade, resolve the Iraq war. Overwhelming mandates which gave the Democrats their cool big offices in '06, all betrayed within two weeks.

        And how do the ego-attached within the tribe respond? Do they recognize the inherent corruption of the DLC Democrats, who are beholden to K Street? Do they accept what they were warned about ahead of time, that the party would have go through a weeding out process after the election, to ensure that the mandate was fulfilled and not betrayed? Nope.

        Most of the major players in the "progressive" blogosphere simply encourage continued support ("better us than them, you've got only two choices", the False Dilemma). They allowed a modicum of emotional venting initially, and since then have replaced any healthy internal discussions on how to challenge corrupt leaders in primaries with more Gonzo-gate stories, more embarrassing, atrocious "leaks" about those abhorrent Republican presidential candidates, more pap for the populists. But no house cleaning for the Democrats. No integrity enforcement.

        Just stick by your tribe and shut up.

        -----

        That was a very long way around to get to my answer, unfortunately. Sorry about that.

        I don't think False Conservatives, or corrupted false progressives actually belong on the left/right scale. Because they misrepresent themselves. The liberal/conservative labels should be disregarded with these types, because they simply use those tribal identities as a "fake ID" to get them into the tribal meetings.

        Corrupt D's and R's use their fake ideologies like beer companies use girls in bikinis to sell you alcohol. Drink enough of their beer and live the fantasy.

        But you'll wake up in the morning watching Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton going through your wallet and loading your big screen into their van...

        So no, I don't think False Conservatives are actually the farthest right. That fits into the "All Conservatives are Evil", us vs. them mantra of the Democrats, but that's an intellectually destructive attitude. It reflects tribal ego-attachment in the face of reality.

        "True" Conservatives are not Evil, and sell-out Democrats are not Good.

        Continue in that tribal-think to the detriment of both your tribe and your Constitution...

    •  I took it that "purity" referred (0+ / 0-)

      to ideological purity or whether one unquestioningly tows the party line, not to whether or not someone is doing drugs or watching porn (I'm not sure why you're on about that anyway...  Kinda creepy to obsess over such things).  At any rate, have you heard of the "True Scotsman Fallacy"?  This post seems to commit it in its talk of "true conservatives".  As Forrest Gump would say, "conservativism is as conservativism does."

      •  Fallacious Fallacies and Falsehoods (0+ / 0-)

        "I took it that "purity" referred... to ideological purity or whether one unquestioningly tows the party line" - Philoguy

        This is a really good point, and may invalidate part of my analysis, at least as it relates to the statistical data represented in that graph.

        We'd have to know how the ranking of Purity was drawn out of the survey subjects to see which definition was clearly intended. Worst case would be if the meaning was left ambiguously open to interpretation by the subject.

        When I saw the word Purity I saw it as a trigger for evangelicals on the right. But given the context of the study, morality within politics, the ideological view is much more likely to be appropriate and intended.

        If the meaning was left ambiguous, though, it would cause a falsely inflated representation of the importance of Purity for conservatives.

        My intuitive sense (with all the scientific clout that that carries...) says that the Purity line would be an inverse Bell, high on both ends where the staunch ideologues live, and low in the middle where folks don't attach themselves to any ideology.

        "whether or not someone is doing drugs or watching porn (I'm not sure why you're on about that anyway...  Kinda creepy to obsess over such things)." - Philoguy

        Please explain how using two common addictions as examples in one sentence in one post constitutes "obsession", and justifies an insult?

        This is clearly the willful, malicious use of several fallacies, piled on top of one another. A tactic common among False Conservative pundits...

        "True Scotsman Fallacy" - Philoguy

        An interesting point, but not accurate, in this case.

        I'm not declaring that Conservatives are monolithic, that would be an assumption incorrectly drawn from my use of the phrase "real conservatives". I'm using that phrase as a simplification to draw contrast against False Conservatives, who wear that ideology as a sheepskin to hide their wolfishness.

        "conservativism is as conservativism does." - Philoguy

        I think this is just an attempt to bolster tribalism by attacking "them".

        It does no good to vilify the beliefs of a group of well-meaning people for the actions of deceivers who have infiltrated their tribe.

        This is where tribalism is killing democracy in America.

        We have fools in the tribes who want to focus only on "us vs. them". And those fools cannot see that this is a fight between "Good vs. Evil", in both parties.

        In the "real" fight for our democracy, the health of our Constitution, the "real" liberals need to join forces with the "real" conservatives, and the "real" moderates ,to address the mortal threat of corruption, which transcends all tribes, and should transcend tribal loyalties.

        This fight cannot be seen clearly if one is stuck in the one-dimensional left/right paradigm. You have to be able to step out of that, or you have only yourself to blame for the sellouts who are betraying and misusing your tribe, and the catastrophic damage which will continue to accrue, as you continue to blindly support them.

        •  This isn't a fallacy at (0+ / 0-)

          all:

          Please explain how using two common addictions as examples in one sentence in one post constitutes "obsession", and justifies an insult?

          This is clearly the willful, malicious use of several fallacies

          Psycho-sociologically fixation on these issues are indicative of a certain temperament, set of assumptions, and way of thinking about the world.  It says a good deal about you that you think of these things as such exceptional social problems.  I tend to think that the genuine social ills pertain more to economic issues than these sorts of moral issues that are so often used to inflame the public and lead them to ignore the more important economic issues that have been so corrosive socially.  You are reinforcing conservative frames by playing to these sorts of largely unimportant issues.  Further, the issue of substance abuse has historically been a tool for targeting various minority groups.

          An interesting point, but not accurate, in this case.

          I'm not declaring that Conservatives are monolithic, that would be an assumption incorrectly drawn from my use of the phrase "real conservatives". I'm using that phrase as a simplification to draw contrast against False Conservatives, who wear that ideology as a sheepskin to hide their wolfishness.

          Yes, I understood what you were trying to do.  However, just as it makes little sense to distinguish true Christians from false Christians where social phenomena are concerned, it is sociologically unsound to assume that there is an "essence" floating around in Platonic heaven called "conservativism" against which actual social groups that call themselves conservatives could be measured.  Christians are whoever call themselves Christians.  Yes, they come in many flavors, but the actually existing group is what defines the thing nonetheless.  One falls into the true Scotsman fallacy whenever they say something like "Jerry Fallwell was not a true Christian."  Other Christians might find him obnoxious and wrongheaded, but that does not diminish the fact that he belonged to a rather sizable group that refers to themselves as "Christians".  Similarly, conservatives are those that call themselves conservative.

          I think this is just an attempt to bolster tribalism by attacking "them".

          It does no good to vilify the beliefs of a group of well-meaning people for the actions of deceivers who have infiltrated their tribe.

          This is where tribalism is killing democracy in America.

          Actually, no, this isn't simply a matter of "tribalism".  While I have no doubt that those who call themselves conservatives believe they are pursuing what is best, this isn't the issue.  Rather, the issue is one of a set of philosophical political principles that I believe to be false, misguided, and generally destructive.  I'm not buying your centrist message of true conservatives and true liberals coming together.  There are some pretty basic philosophical differences concerning both how conservatives view human nature and governance that simply don't allow for what you're proposing.

          •  Ego-Attachment Revealed (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not buying your centrist message of true conservatives and true liberals coming together.  There are some pretty basic philosophical differences concerning both how conservatives view human nature and governance that simply don't allow for what you're proposing.

            Thank you for confirming, albiet at the end your second post, that you are simply an ideologue, and deserve to be treated as such.

            Being an ideologue is like having a self-inflicted disability. You don't have to be partially functional, you choose to be.

            This gets right to the core of one of my points, ego-attachment produces ugly outcomes. Ideologues fall in love with some perspective, ego-attach themselves to it, and then will defend it to the ends of the earth whenever reality comes a'callin'.

            Ideologues will always be proven wrong, in the long term, since no ideology can accurately encompass all facets of human nature, on either an individual or societal basis. An ideology may have some short term success in dealing with the problem set which spawned it, but its proponent's ego- attachments to the ideology will attempt to keep it alive after it's usefulness has ended, and will take the ideology into the dangerous territory of situations and processes which it has no capacity to accurately analyze.

            Ideologies are like academic models. They are great for explaining a very narrow set of ideas, within their conceptual limits, but when one attempts to apply a model outside of its design constraints, the model breaks down entirely.

            One of the most pathetic things in political discourse is watching two ideologues, both mortally ego-attached to their ideologies, shout at each other in an argument about a situation or set of principles which neither ideology can encompass.

            That's when I say a silent prayer to the God du jour for his (or Her!) gift of the "mute" button.

            Psycho-sociologically fixation on these issues are indicative of a certain temperament, set of assumptions, and way of thinking about the world.

            Obsession, fixation. Indefensible accusations.

            I was contrasting morality based on interaction, with morality focused around the self. I needed a quick hitter, with impact to make the sentence in question work. I had a palette of self-oriented issues of morality ranging from personal hygiene to calmness of mind to one's spiritual connection to his or her Creator to vices. I initially focused on the personal Creator connection but couldn't get the punch I wanted, and I didn't want to account for any theological overtones. I went with addictive vices because permissives tend to call them "victimless", yet they are both individually and collectively devastating. I ran down the list of addictions, dismissing eating disorders, shoplifting, gambling, video games and the rest because I wanted something more far reaching. I went with sex and drugs because almost everyone has had to deal with them, either directly or indirectly, and also because they are the vices which, when attacked, will cause hippies to flip out. I chose the word "porn" over the word "sex" because of its impact.

            This was exactly my thought process as I attempted formulate that part of my original post. Most of my effort was spent trying to finagle the personal Creator thing into what I wanted, but after several attempts, I gave up on it for the reasons stated and went the vice route, which I still like in terms of how it reads. (It worked. It certainly inflamed you...)

            It says far more about you that you would pounce on one phrase, deceptively and willfully attempt to distort that into an "obsession", simply to concoct a smear against a commentator who just happened to land smack dab with both feet in the middle of your pet ego-attachment.

            I mean seriously. Conservatives cannot be good! They are the ENEMY. They must be eradicated, not coddled! How are we supposed to perpetuate our pathetic little left/right ego spats if some filthy disgusting centrist (ptuey, ptuey!) comes along and tries to declare Peace?!?

            Folks with your mindset remind me of two pilots who despise one another fighting over the controls of the plane. They would rather crash into that mountain, killing themselves and hundreds of passengers, than allow the other guy to seize the controls, correct their heading, and take credit for saving them.

            Foolishness.

            I tend to think that the genuine social ills pertain more to economic issues than these sorts of moral issues

            Thank you for proving my point that "liberals" tend toward immaturity, because they emphasize relational morality while deemphasizing morality of the self.

            I love it when someone is trying to demean my position and they inadvertently precisely confirm it for me.

            You are reinforcing conservative frames by playing to these sorts of largely unimportant issues

            Only a fool, or an ideologue, would seriously claim that addiction is a "largely unimportant issue". Wow.

            Further, the issue of substance abuse has historically been a tool for targeting various minority groups.

            NICE ONE! Now I'm a racist too!

            Excuse me while I go shower the slime from your disingenuous debater tactics from myself.

            There is a special room in hell for folks who argue in such a disgusting manner. Enjoy spending eternity with Al Sharpton and Sean Hannity.

            Christians are whoever call themselves Christians.

            Are you a Scientologist? Didn't L. Ron Hubbard say that reality is what the group agrees upon?

            A whole group agreed that the sun revolved around the earth, but all their agreeing never made that actually happen.

            Further, your premise here completely discounts my clearly stated point about willful deception. I'm not arguing that Catholics are "real" Christians and Baptists are not. Those folks tend to sincerely believe that they are Christians. So your premise holds here, but it has nothing to do with my point.

            If I look Arabic, speak a dialect, get hired by the CIA to infiltrate an Al Qaeda cell, do so, and bring down the cell, it is perfectly appropriate to say, "That guy isn't a 'real' Al Qaeda member." That's not the Scotsman fallacy, it's a fact.

            These False Conservatives have co-opted the conservative movement and the Republican party. BY DECEPTION. They are not "real" conservatives because they don't give a rat's ass about any of the principles of that ideology. Just like your heroes in the Democratic party who do not care about your agenda, and just take money from K Street, and then vote the way the guy with the check tells them to. They're not "real" liberals, they are poseurs.

            You're simply trying to pull the Guilt by Association fallacy in order to keep your silly ego-war going. Since these False Conservatives are clearly bad guys, and thus are easy to slander, you'd rather ascribe all of their Evil to the actual believers in conservatism so you can get the upper hand.

            A morally superior position would be to cease hostilities, join with the genuine conservatives to root out the False Conservatives, and the Sellout Democrats, and once the Constitution is safe, resume the philosophical struggle.

            But you'd rather allow the plane to crash into the mountain, especially if they have the stick and rudder, so they can be blamed for the catastrophe.

            Terrible, and shameful.

            But ironic that this was so easy to draw out in a thread on morality...

            •  Oddly all your remarks here (0+ / 0-)

              sound like the remarks of an inflexible ideologue.  I'm more than happy to endorse my position based on sound social science, political theory, and human psychology as opposed to the rants of someone who bases their entire thought process on the pet concept of "ego-attachment" and a centrist position that has continuously led to failure in recent years.

              •  Centrist Slander (0+ / 0-)

                Oddly all your remarks here sound like the remarks of an inflexible ideologue.

                Oddly, what sounds true to you, might not be an accurate reflection of reality.

                I'm more than happy to endorse my position based on sound social science, political theory, and human psychology

                Oddly, this smells like the Expertise fallacy...

                the pet concept of "ego-attachment"

                I think I picked this up from someone else's blog.

                Try Googling "Buddha" and see if he's still got his site up.

                a centrist position that has continuously led to failure in recent years.

                This is derived from a deliberate deception foisted upon the political landscape, usually not by ideologues from the extremes, but by the False Conservatives and the Sellout Democrats.

                If you listen to Joe Lieberman, he'll tell you what a "centrist" or "moderate" he tends to be (when it suits him), and how effective a "bi-partisan" leader he is. Just like the False Conservatives have no concern for actual conservative ideas, Lieberman and his ilk are simply using "moderate" and "bi-partisan" as a tool of deception.

                His is not the bi-partisanship of compromise, or cooperation, or the bi-partisanship of finding common ground and using that to make progress on an issue. Joe Lieberman's is the bi-partisanship of the bribe. If they're writing him campaign checks, he's reaching into their wallet and then across the aisle to whoever else just got one.

                I won't fall for the Guilt by Association fallacy like you tend to deliberately do in these cases. Just because Lieberman is a sellout who supports legislation which "has continuously led to failure in recent years", I'm not going to try and paint all "real" moderates, or "real" liberals, or "real" Independents, or "real" Democrats, or whatever flavor Joe claims to be this week, I won't try and paint the "real" sincere folks with Lieberman's Sellout brush, just to drag them down.

                These guys abandon their claimed ideology at the drop of a checkbook, then brag about the fine "bi-partisan" work they are doing.

                Using this deception, they've effectively correlated "centrist" and "bi-partisan" with "corruption".

                So don't bother trying to hang the bogus "free" trade deals, the bankruptcy legislation, the Medicaid drug windfall for the pharmaceuticals, and all these other sellout deals around my neck.

                Like I said several posts ago, the existential political fight in this country is not between the left and right, or Democrats and Republicans. It's between Corruption and Reform.

                The Reformers of both parties need to work together with the base of both parties to purge the Corruptors out of their positions of leadership. We need primary challenges against these Corruptor weasels, on both sides.

                I simply will not excuse a Corruptor Democrat, a sellout, just because they are a Democrat. To do so simply perpetuates the "Culture of Corruption."

                If you're a tribal ideologue, you take anyone on your team, as long as they're holding a seat so you can keep power.

                That's the Culture of Corruption, and that is the source of failure in recent years.

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