Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love and Self-Worth

Back when I wrote What We Got Here is ...Failure to Communicate, I quoted Thomas Sowell extensively from his magnum opus A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggle. One of the excerpts dealt with the differences in the way his two defined ideological groups deal with "new knowledge" and its effect on past decisions:
All social processes -- whether economic, religious, political or other -- involve costs. These costs are seen very differently by those with the constrained and the unconstrained visions, just as they see differently the kinds of attitudes needed in these processes -- sincerity versus fidelity, for example. These costs may be due to time or to violence, among other sources, their corresponding benefits may be apportioned justly or unjustly, and their recipients may be free or unfree. All these aspects are assessed differently in the constrained and the unconstrained visions.

The passage of time, and its irreversibility, create special decision-making difficulties, social processes, and moral principles -- all of which are seen quite differently by those with the constrained and the unconstrained visions. Both recognize that decisions made at one point in time have consequences at other points in time. But the ways of coping with this fact depend upon the capabilities of human beings and especially of human knowledge and foresight.

Accretions of knowledge over time mean that individual and social decisions made under conditions of lesser knowledge have consequences under conditions of greater knowledge. To those with the unconstrained vision, this means that being bound by past decisions represents a loss of benefits made possible by later knowledge. Being bound by past decisions, whether in constitutional law cases or in marriage for life, is seen as costly and irrational.

In the unconstrained vision, there are moral as well as practical consequences to intertemporal commitments. Gratitude, as well as loyalty and patriotism, for example, are all essentially commitments to behave differently in the future, toward individuals or societies, than one would behave on an impartial assessment of circumstances as they might exist at some future time, if those individuals and societies were encountered for the first time. Where two lives are jeopardized and only one can be saved, to save the one who is your father may be an act of loyalty but not an act of justice. Thus, in behavioral terms, gratitude and loyalty are interteporal commitments not to be impartial -- not to use future knowledge and future moral assessments to produce that result which you would otherwise consider best, if confronting the same individuals for the first time. From this perspective, loyalty, promises, patriotism, gratitude, precedents, oaths of fealty, constitutions, marriage, social traditions, and international treaties are all constrictions imposed earlier, when knowledge is less, on options to be exercised later, when knowledge will be greater.

--

All of those things ... loyalty, constitutions, marriage, etc. ... have been lauded and revered by those with a constrained vision. The process costs entailed by intertemporal commitments depend on (1) how much more knowledge, rationality, and impartiality human beings are capable of bringing to bear as a result of the passage of time and (2) on the cost of accepting the disadvantages of moment-to-moment decision-making.
Got that?

Now, go read THIS.  (h/t Vanderleun)

There are other rewards for loyalty, promises, constitutions, marriage etc. that are honored that sometime aren't factored in to the calculations. And costs when they are not.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.