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Moralizing ... in various lights


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Maybe we can start by listing the types of moralizing we enjoy, or used to enjoy.

"The kids spend so much on XXXXX [smartphones, internet, computer games, music videos, dungeons and dragons, television, hula hoops] that they can't [do math, get a job, go to war, talk to their grandparents]"

"People today are soft.  In my day [my parents' day, my grandparents' day] people used to XXXX [make their own medicine, kill things casually, eat pollution and not complain, etc]"

My idea is to systemize and capture the relationship between moralizing of different kinds and the counterbalancing zeitgeist.  

Express an idea and discuss.... Argus...

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20 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

Maybe we can start by listing the types of moralizing we enjoy, or used to enjoy.

"The kids spend so much on XXXXX [smartphones, internet, computer games, music videos, dungeons and dragons, television, hula hoops] that they can't [do math, get a job, go to war, talk to their grandparents]"

"People today are soft.  In my day [my parents' day, my grandparents' day] people used to XXXX [make their own medicine, kill things casually, eat pollution and not complain, etc]"

My idea is to systemize and capture the relationship between moralizing of different kinds and the counterbalancing zeitgeist.  

Express an idea and discuss.... Argus...

It suspect you might be defining 'moralizing' as someone complaining  about their dissatisfaction with anything you aren't dissatisfied with to delegitimize the complaint. What differentiates 'moralizing' with making a cogent observation about the state of society or its government or institutions? You need to define your term more precisely.

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It suspect ?  I fear 'it' !

You, on the other hand, as a longtime discussion partner know that I am nothing without people who disagree with me.    'Moralizing' is different than observation as it ascribes values to a point of view.  I thought everyone knew that but maybe that helps.

Also I know how tired longtime posters are about political posturing and pundit imitation so I will suggest we take examples from our own side.  

I just have to think of an example.

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Morality is, by nature, traditional.  The "is our children still learning" meme bears the hidden neurosis that our children are not like ourselves.  It's political, but not along party lines, but along the lines of age and political heritage.  

I volunteered to take an example from 'my' own side, which others would say is left-of-centre.  How about the neurosis that our tradition of politeness in mixed company is being lost, and we are drifting back into racism ?  That seems like a kind of moralizing for sure.

- Refusal to acknowledge that immigration is a policy, with economic and (arguably) political goals, open to discussion on its merits.  Moralizing against any discussion of immigration as having a hidden agenda is how this reactionary trait surfaces.

- Refusal to acknowledge that all peoples were more barbaric in our history, so to apply today's morality to historical figures is nonsensical and maybe unique in history.  ( Did the Victorians argue that Caesar was a boor because he didn't take off his laurel when ladies entered the room ?)  The corollary of this is the idea that 'other' peoples are blameless, and were unable to act in their own interests in the past.

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22 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

It suspect ?  I fear 'it' !

You, on the other hand, as a longtime discussion partner know that I am nothing without people who disagree with me.    'Moralizing' is different than observation as it ascribes values to a point of view.  I thought everyone knew that but maybe that helps.

Also I know how tired longtime posters are about political posturing and pundit imitation so I will suggest we take examples from our own side.  

I just have to think of an example.

So is complaining about the Laurier University thing moralizing? On the one  hand there's a certain amount of 'cluck-clucking' about the behavior of the faculty members and university. That could be described as moralizing. But there's also a deeper level of a concern as to whether universities are properly educating as opposed to coercing and indoctrinating people.

Black Lives Matters is moralizing since there's little in the way of underlying fact beneath their complaints against police. I would suggest many of those right wing groups holding 'free speech' rallies in the US would be moralizing - as would be their ANTIFA opponents. Certainly US politics is rife with moralizing, whether it's on abortion, gay or whatever rights, guns, 'family values' or the endless drumbeat of red-white-and-blue nationalism you find on the likes of FOX news. An awful lot of progressive positions seem to come with heavy moralizing on the side. If you don't agree then you 'hate the poor' or you're a bigot/xenophobe, or you're insensitive to some group or other's 'rights', rights being a continually expanding list of entitlements never enshrined in anyone's constitution.  If you smoke you're a horrifically insensitive person (unless its marijuana). If you drive a big, gas guzzling vehicle you're a horrifically insensitive person (unless you're a celebrity who supports left wing causes).

Here's my own moralizing. If you don't care about the debt then you don't care about your children being loaded down with enormous lengths of chains linked to cash boxes similar to poor Jacob Marley. Oh, you can't see it, but it was as long and thick and heavy as Marley's seven Christmas eve's ago and you have labored on it since. Ah it is a ponderous length of chain you bear..... Suzie. Is that moralizing or simple truth? There tends to be a lot more moralizing from the Left than the Right in Canada, as Canadian social conservatives are largely invisible or ignored. I usually ascribe intellectual failings as opposed to moral failings to left wing policies or left wing opposition to policies I support.

 

Edited by Argus
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7 minutes ago, Argus said:

Here's my own moralizing. If you don't care about the debt then you don't care about your children being loaded down with enormous lengths of chains linked to cash boxes similar to poor Jacob Marley. 

That's assuming that there is any intent of ever paying down the government debt. I am increasingly convinced there is no plausible reality in which this ever happens. Rather, debt payments will simply consume an ever larger portion of government revenues until governments are forced to default on the debt. For example, Iceland did so with seemingly no long term ill effect to the country, just a temporary bump. 

On the topic of moralizing... is that just inserting moral ideas into a particular argument rather than simply factual information? Even only using a factual evidence-based approach and following principles of pragmatism implies its own kind of morality though, that of utilitarianism. So I guess I still don't know what's meant by moralizing in this thread. 

Edited by Bonam
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On 11/22/2017 at 5:54 PM, Michael Hardner said:

My idea is to systemize and capture the relationship between moralizing of different kinds and the counterbalancing zeitgeist. 

Isn't that what we do on here all day long?  There is no single zeitgeist, and there is no single moral counterbalance.  Without getting into religion too deeply, as I know you will want to avoid that, if I were to express disgust at the recent events in Egypt, two mini-zeitgeists would crop up immediately.  The moralizing on the issue would be compared to either based on the person reading the post and the content would become meaningless.  It would soon become zeitgeist vs zeitgeist.

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First to Bonam and Argus, moralizing is about applying values of right and wrong to a group.  Facts don't need to really be a part of it, the group dynamics supercede facts.

I don't think expecting WLU, or police to behave a certain way is about morality as much as what we expect from public services.

Expecting students, or BLM protesters to behave a certain way can be moralizing though.

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19 hours ago, bcsapper said:

Isn't that what we do on here all day long?  There is no single zeitgeist, and there is no single moral counterbalance.  Without getting into religion too deeply, as I know you will want to avoid that, if I were to express disgust at the recent events in Egypt, two mini-zeitgeists would crop up immediately.  The moralizing on the issue would be compared to either based on the person reading the post and the content would become meaningless.  It would soon become zeitgeist vs zeitgeist.

I think we moralize all day long, yes, but we don't often make objective discoveries as to where it comes from.

Aristotle, I think, talked about the danger of falling too far into fear or pity.  The former might be a moral vice of the right, the latter of the left.  That seems wise.

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