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Old 02-09-2018, 08:31 AM   #256
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Y'know, Diap:

I'm sure that's true. But it's also true that that means that you were born after the advent of the civil rights movement in this country. In fact, you were born at nearly the end what's considered the "end" of the civil rights movement in this country--after 1968.

Of equal, if not more importance, you were born in a world filled with TV and radio. You had access to the thoughts, ideas, etc., of people that lived elsewhere than your small white town. By the time you were 15, computers were a real thing. By the time you were merely 25, the Internet was a "real thing."

You've then lived nearly 30 years with all of those advantages--TV, radio, the Net.

That is a far cry from someonee born in 1920. Or as my hubster's grandmother, 1895. She lived to see TV, radio, the car, space flight, although the Net, not so much. But never in her life did she have the wide-open, freewheeling access to people's ideas that you have had. What are, small town or not, first-world privileges.

My own grandparents travelled the world. They travelled in ocean liners, in trains, by car, even by donkey and camel. Did that mean that they changed their fundamental beings? The things that they held dear, that they believed in? No, they didn't. My grandmother had a certain, specific bigotry--which had nothing to do with religion or color, as it happens. She'd had several bad things happen, in her family, over the decades, and in every instance, a person of this ancestry was directly involved. To her death, she would never move off that position. (And, no: to be clear, it wasn't about people of the Jewish faith/ancestry, either.)

I feel strongly that it's exceedingly difficult to fairly judge people who lived far before us in history. Sure, it's easy to point fingers at white people, screech "racist," and bring up slavery. That's practically a freebie.

What about the way that those to-be slaves got to the traders in the first place? Largely captured by other tribes, people of the same skin color, who thought that it was a perfectly dandy way to ruin one's enemies and pocket money at the same time--capturing opponents and selling them as slaves. Pillaging captured villages and selling off the women and children, too. Your position is, despite the fact that their enemies would have done the same thing to them, that this was all they knew, that they should have stood up and shouted, "no, this is wrong, I won't do it?" Really?

Those folks certainly didn't have TV or radio. They didn't have skin color issues. They were purely mercenary, on the one hand--and on the other, they clearly had zero qualms about thinking it was perfectly okay, and even great, perhaps, to capture and sell off one's enemies. I can't see how anyone in those slaving tribes could have been exposed to pretty much ANY school of thought but that espoused by their tribe.

Were they wrong? Yes, by 21st-century standards, of course. I'm sure we can all agree, slavery=bad. Arguably, they could have slaughtered those with whom they warred. Would slaughtering them have been "better?" Arguably, a ration person would say "NEITHER is good!" And you'd be right--but surely, slavery was a better way for those defeated (at least they had a chance of escape, of having children, of carrying on their genes and their names, maybe even), than immediate death?

I'm simply saying that in many moralistic issues, I tend to believe in absolutes. Evil is evil, thievery is thievery; and so forth. But I cannot see insisting that anyone, anywhere, at any time on this globe's existence could have simply "somehow" thrown off the shackles of peer pressure and their experiences, what their parents raised them to believe, etc.

I get that this post will make no difference. You are not flexible about this. You remind me a bit of Mr. H, who rather frustratingly insists that stupid people choose to be stupid, that they choose not to learn, to stay dumb. He has trouble believing that some people, other than the differently-abled, are born with a lower IQ, that they can have difficulty learning things. Because it's easy for him, naturally, he thinks it's easy, or a choice, for everyone.

You seem to be the same way; because it came to YOU to be enlighted about racism, sexism, bigotry, etc., that it should be that way for everyone, and I don't believe that's true, or realistic, any more than I do my spouse's insistence that somehow, people are CHOOSING to make their own learning processes harder than they should be. When push comes to shove, what's the difference in your position and his?


Hitch
(Who has really, really decided that this will be my last post on this thread. I just don't see how it's helping any of us, I truly don't...)
I think you are 100% right Hitch
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:07 PM   #257
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There are an awful lot of people talking past each other in this thread. Guys, why are you all insisting on there only be one right way to measure or talk about any of this? Having a debate about the definition of evil or conscience really isn't useful when it comes to talking about how we interact with fiction from previous eras.

Works of fiction can be racist/sexist/cruel/whatever for their own time.
They can be acceptable for their time and unacceptable by modern standards.
They can be amazingly progressive for their time and line up with modern standards, which frankly aren't all that off from what was considered good for the past few centuries.
They can be amazingly progressive for their time and come off as incredibly strange by modern standards.
They can completely sidestep these issues in any time frame.

For my part, I think a multi-axis approach is the most helpful: looking how the work meshed with the morals of the time it was written and how it meshes with what we now know about people and with my moral beliefs.

I'm fine reading something that depicts things I don't agree with, but I draw the line at works that support those things or present them in a positive light. They're probably useful for understanding the mindset of the person writing them and the people they were written for, but I'm not an anthropologist or historian so I have no interest in them.
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Old 02-09-2018, 07:38 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by Rbneader View Post
There are an awful lot of people talking past each other in this thread. Guys, why are you all insisting on there only be one right way to measure or talk about any of this? Having a debate about the definition of evil or conscience really isn't useful when it comes to talking about how we interact with fiction from previous eras.
Looking through the thread, it seems to be one person vs. the rest of us moral relativists on the other side. "full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing" -- Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5, William Shakespeare
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:15 PM   #259
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Looking through the thread, it seems to be one person vs. the rest of us moral relativists on the other side. "full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing" -- Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5, William Shakespeare
Yes, I think you are right that the majority of the responders took the relativist position. I believe some did say they might draw the line at reading certain books.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:19 PM   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rbneader View Post
There are an awful lot of people talking past each other in this thread. Guys, why are you all insisting on there only be one right way to measure or talk about any of this? Having a debate about the definition of evil or conscience really isn't useful when it comes to talking about how we interact with fiction from previous eras.

Works of fiction can be racist/sexist/cruel/whatever for their own time.
They can be acceptable for their time and unacceptable by modern standards.
They can be amazingly progressive for their time and line up with modern standards, which frankly aren't all that off from what was considered good for the past few centuries.
They can be amazingly progressive for their time and come off as incredibly strange by modern standards.
They can completely sidestep these issues in any time frame.

For my part, I think a multi-axis approach is the most helpful: looking how the work meshed with the morals of the time it was written and how it meshes with what we now know about people and with my moral beliefs.

I'm fine reading something that depicts things I don't agree with, but I draw the line at works that support those things or present them in a positive light. They're probably useful for understanding the mindset of the person writing them and the people they were written for, but I'm not an anthropologist or historian so I have no interest in them.
We did manage to have several pages of relevant discussion before things went somewhat off track, which is pretty good for this forum

As the OP, I must say I really like your post.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:32 PM   #261
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So it's all my fault, huh? I see how you guys are.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:34 PM   #262
DiapDealer
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Looking through the thread, it seems to be one person vs. the rest of us moral relativists on the other side. "full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing" -- Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5, William Shakespeare
Yes. All of you relativists were absolutely certain my viewpoint was "wrong."
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:01 PM   #263
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Yes. All of you relativists were absolutely certain my viewpoint was "wrong."
Nope! Many of us are pretty sure, though, that it's not the only possible viewpoint.

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Old 02-09-2018, 09:23 PM   #264
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Yes. All of you relativists were absolutely certain my viewpoint was "wrong."
No, D:

I never said your position was wrong. I think I said that I couldn't be as sure of the thing as are you, for the reasons I stated. You know I have mad respect for you, brother.

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Old 02-09-2018, 10:32 PM   #265
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Yes. All of you relativists were absolutely certain my viewpoint was "wrong."
Nope. You got it "wrong again

I have the highest respect for the work you do in the forums.

I was trying to get you to consider the possibility that you might be wrong in your definition of a "person of conscience" and that a more nuanced definition might be more accurate and less judgemental of other people.

As regards the evils of slavery, racism etc. we are incomplete agreement.

Last edited by Thasaidon; 02-09-2018 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Added missing QM
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:22 PM   #266
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Yes. All of you relativists were absolutely certain my viewpoint was "wrong."
Not quite right. I don't think your viewpoint is wrong. More that most of us are not as comfortable with absolutes as you seem to be. You have what feels right to you so go with that without expecting others to share your beliefs.
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Old 02-10-2018, 05:36 AM   #267
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You have what feels right to you so go with that without expecting others to share your beliefs.
I never have expected others to share my beliefs. But when they're questioned (or opinions are asked for), I feel fully qualified to defend (share) them. As have we all in this thread.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 02-10-2018 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:37 AM   #268
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Overall I think this discussion was handled very well. Most discussions of this nature turn into raging California style forest fires on other forums.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:34 AM   #269
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I never have expected others to share my beliefs. But when they're questioned (or opinions are asked for), I feel fully qualified to defend (share) them. As have we all in this thread.
And I think that everyone who took part in the discussion would fight against anyone who tried to stop you.
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