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I'm continuing my reporting on the next installment from Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.

Yesterday, Alfred George showed that the Myth of Independence, combined with the Myth of Self-interest, makes conservatives unjust and ungrateful, and thus unfit to live in society.

Today he discusses how the Myth of Independence corrupts justice in society.

If you would be so kind as to hop over the orange divider, we will sketch out today’s post.

Mr. George’s installment for today is brief. He begins by reminding us of what he showed last week, namely, that the Myth of Independence (that is, the belief that the strong succeed in life on their own) makes people self-centered and mean-spirited toward others. He goes on to show that this attitude in turn makes Mythers incapable of grasping the principles of justice.

Mythers become crippled in thinking about justice because of their ingrained habit of thinking of themselves apart from everyone else. Since Mythers constantly contemplate only their own rights and their own demands, they lose perspective on the big picture, on the view of society as a whole. They don’t see their connections with everyone else. . . . They come to imagine that possession of rights is a zero-sum game, that someone else’s accession to rights must necessarily diminish their own.

Such people are incapable of making sound judgments about justice. Their imagination has become stunted by focusing so much on themselves. . . . And since they treat themselves leniently while treating others harshly, they are neither unprejudiced enough nor impartial enough to deal with others equitably.

He says that their propensity to go easy on themselves while being harsh with others makes it nearly impossible for them to see what is just. And obviously, if they don’t know what is just they can’t act justly.
Moreover, they cannot be trusted to judge their own actions fairly. This follows, of course, from their propensity to go easy on themselves. They can be relied upon to regard any transgressions of their own as mild or non-existent, while judging the infractions of others more harshly.
Mr. George finishes todays post by pointing out that, instead of acting justly, Mythers expend great amount of energy defining their vices.
[T]hey justify themselves with any sort of argument, no matter how flimsy; they hire others to think up justifications for them; they even launch ad campaigns to try to convince their fellow citizens that their vices are actually beneficial to society. Anything to prevent facing the truth about themselves.

And the truth is that their behavior is habitually unjust to their fellow citizens.

You can read the whole post here.

Tomorrow Mr. George will finish his consideration of the Myth of Independence. He will show how this Myth infects the very heart of society and rots the core of American life.

I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think it's the myth that is the agent. (5+ / 0-)

    Rather, self-centered people, who, as often as not, actually have little or no self-awareness, latch on to the myth of independence to validate their own existence. That is, feeling isolated, they assume that's how they are meant to be. And the myth is reinforcing.

    That self-centered people are not self-aware is somewhat difficult to understand. I compare them to a top spinning on its axis and having no awareness that it is about to stop spinning and drop.

    It seems to be an old condition. Narcissus had it, but we have been inclined to interpret his condition of being focused on the self, when it is actually more likely that he "fell in love with his image," because he did not recognize himself.

    It has now been discovered that some people are face blind and do not recognize other people's facial attributes. So, it's entirely possible that some don't recognize their own either. When they are shown images of themselves, they have to take the representation on faith. Perhaps they have no self-image.

    "To see ourselves as others see us" is a recognized goal. If it were automatic, it wouldn't have to be mentioned.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:17:12 AM PST

  •  It confounds me the moral myopia of some people (5+ / 0-)

    I have done some not so admirable things in my life (OK quite a few) but I acknowledge them.  What amazes me is that some people can behave so badly and yet insist they are serving some greater good.  For example, the most recent one I have is the guy who insists cutting entitlements is a good thing because it will force people to "quit the public trough and stand on their own 2 feet" When I asked him how I could stand on my own 2 feet, given I receive SSDI, his reply was a vague observation that I was different    

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