Saturday, July 23, 2016

Principles uber alles

Praising someone for their commitment to their principles, regardless of what those principles actually are, invites a kind of twin sickness.

First, it obfuscates the necessity of *good* principles. If simply having some standards that one commits to (whatever they may be) is praiseworthy, then we undercut our ability to encourage people for having good principles, or discourage those who have bad ones.

This leads to a compensatory measure: by denying that people with 'bad' principles are really principled at all. Hitler did not sincerely believe he was doing the right thing - if he did, then he was principled, and we can't have -that-. Instead, he had to never really believe what he was saying, and the whole thing was just a bid for power and glory, or maybe just madness.

Play that game and you can at least describe a world where only people beholden to 'good' principles really exist after all. Convenient!

But if it's not true - and if it's easy to realize that it's not true - then you're setting the groundwork for a horrible and confusing culture of misdirection and mistrust.

Which, to a degree, seems to be exactly where we are right now.

4 comments:

Edgestow said...

I saw my first VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE bumper sticker today. Amazing how fast they can turn these things out nowadays.

Crude said...

I imagine that's going to die down once they realize how stupid it is. 'Vote your conscience' was only anti-Trump in the context of the delegate fight. 'Vote your conscience' is the last thing one should tell Hillary supporters.

Mike said...

It's even better when you realize that for many of these people it is also "principles uber allies." They would rather sacrifice a man fighting next to them for not living up to their principles than side with an imperfect man who is showing them loyalty.

Crude said...

It took me a while to realize that sometimes the proper response to an ally saying something outrageous, or offensive, or event racist is not "DENOUNCE, OSTRACIZE, SACRIFICE" but, 'Yeah, I think they're wrong on this. So fucking what?'

I notice that 'racism' and 'sexism' are supposed to be the universal taboos. Get accused of either, however incidentally, and you're supposed to not just be ostracized by your foes, but also your friends, and -also- you are to heap scorn upon -yourself-.

Meanwhile, when the leftist opposition refuses to do this, we go... what? 'Shame, SHAME!' and then ignore it since everyone else is too?