palam wrote:"A sense of moral superiority" was only one of multiple listed reasons for helping others. You and I have a clearly different observed "real world." Walk around any college campus and you will see lots of plaques and named halls. When as a boyscout I sold my neighbor popcorn as a fundraiser, he got a receipt so he could write it off as a charitable donation. Companies often support charities to make them seem less "evil" in the public eye. The children of economic mavens often feel guilty for their windfall wealth that they did not work for; they often spend much of their time giving the money away (carnigie, peabody). The others are a more personal, introspective type of evidence.
You're giving examples of altruism as it applies in the lives of relatively wealthy, system-savvy folk. It's a mistake to generalize from that to everyone.
The right to life is not a given. If so, natural selection would never have given rise to humans. Life must be earned. As long as Native Americans and Americans saw the dichotomy as "us and them," conflict was inevitable. I also think it is sad what happened to the Native Americans. However, one can not let sentimentality cloud their judgement.
Sweet Cthulhu's tentacles, do you realize what you're saying?
First of all, *no* right is a given. Not the right to life, nor the oh-so-sacred right to property, not the right to happiness, none of it. There is no such thing as a right, in any metaphysical sense! Human morality is based around non-conscious wetware programmed into us by stochastic evolutionary trends. Unless you believe in some sort of weird-arse Platonic reality where abstract concepts underlie and inform the impure, "true" world, it's absurd to say that human needs, wants and so forth are in any way related to the universe. We happen to exist, but there's little real data to suggest we, or something like us, *had* to exist.
It isn't about rights following logically from abstract principles. It's about human behavior and how you treat people. Natural selection doesn't confer any rights either. Invoking it is just invoking the is-ought fallacy. Doing that in regard to the colonization of North America and its peoples is saying "might makes right", which seems like the antithesis of the idea that individual rights are supreme.
However, one can not let sentimentality cloud their judgement.
Ah, right -- you're "objective" and "rational." Despite the fact that human brains don't work that way, that emotion is utterly essential to decisionmaking and human cognition, that our brains form sloppy associative networks governed by a logic quite unrelated to anything philosophers have ever come up with and that consciousness functions as an executive summary, rather than the source of agency.
"It is sad what happened to Native Americans?" Why not actually say something about agency, actions and culpability? Oh, because owning it would force you to confront the idea that maybe you have some connection to those who were complicit, that your very existence (if you were born here) is only possible because of oppression, genocide and theft.
If you self describe as white, then you can not claim "we."
I can speak of the experiences common to oppressed peoples, regardless of the sources of oppression. I'm deeply aware of the complex, intersecting matrix of privilege that's involved with it, and while I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking for people of color as a group, there is nothing wrong with speaking about those experiences of oppression that their groups and my groups share. I own my privilege as a white person and I'm careful not try and tell other people's stories for them. This is something I share with those groups, and which I feel comfortable relating because I spend an awful lot of time *listening* when people of color (who may or may not belong to other minorities) share their own experiences with racism.
Your category does not guarantee knowledge or enlightenment on your category.
I never claimed it did. The original phrasing was "I'm pretty sure." We're not dealing with a formal claim-counterclaim here. ;p And I know a hell of a lot more about what my category experiences than you do, because I've lived that experience and seen it firsthand. That I don't have perfect omniscient perspective about it is a red herring. Nobody does.
If you think you now rather more about it than I do, then please show, don't tell.
Show my own experience? Nice and disingenuous there. Frankly, *no* group is very sympathetic to trans people, not even queer people. White queer and trans communities tend to be pretty icy towards queer and trans people of color. To my knowledge, there isn't polling data asking trans folk who most often harasses or threatens them. Just because there isn't neatly-packaged data doesn't mean it doesn't occur, isn't real. "Published" doesn't equal "objective", and you're simply trying to derail my argument by asking for it.
As proof for my statement, I will propose the recent Prop 8 in California, where over 50% of both blacks and Hispanics voted for a ban on same sex marriage. the percentage for whites was lower than 50%.
Except that black and Hispanic *first-time voters* followed the trend of other first-time voters, and opposed Prop 8 62-38. We're dealing with a generation gap here. Older voters supported prop 8 56-44. Latinos ages 18-29 opposed it 59-41. Data isn't available for first-time black voters on that.
The country we live in now does not allow everyone to have this opportunity however it gets us closer than we could hope to get in other parts of the world.
A traditional American notion, sometimes borne out by reality and sometimes not.
duh? Are you actually saying anything directly here?
Yes. That the idea that the US is closer to meritocracy/democracy/egalitarianism/whatever moral pinnacle one wants to uphold, than all other societies in the world, is a standard bit of nationalistic doubletalk. How you can actually have meritocracy when our country depends on such rigid stratification is beyond me.
Unless you think all of us disadvantaged folk just lack will or work ethic or whatever.
What are you doing personally to increase opportunity for everyone? Or do you talk the talk but not walk the walk?
Opposing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ablism and so on in my own life. Supporting causes and organizations that exist for that purpose and meet my standards of credibility in the process (frex, I support environmentalism but would never give money to Greenpeace; I'm not sure they have a scientist among them and their members are spectacularly ill-informed and dogmatic) with my time and energy. Trying to build a career whereby I can take those ambitions into the public sphere. Microlending to people in the Third World who can use what little I'm able to donate to make a much more substantial increase in their lives (25 dollars of my meager disability paycheck is some used clothes or a few groceries to me, but it might allow a small business owner in Pakistan to become self-sufficient, when taken in concert with the loans of others). Supporting the people I know who suffer from these things. Trying to encourage my more privileged, less-clueful friends and loved ones to gain some perspective, in a gentle way.
My reserves of money and energy are quite limited, but I'm aware that my actions can make a difference either way. It may be small, and require aggregate action to become noticeable, but I'm not alone in doing so.
Meritocracy, or rather, value placed on personal merit, can not be a lie as long as natural selection takes place.
Because merit has anything to do with natural selection. Are you a proponent of Eugenics too?
There is no "survival of the fittest." There's "reinforcement of the traits that lead to reproductive success." What defines that is so context-sensitive that you can't generalize it. Sometimes an r-strategy works best, sometimes a K-strategy. A mutation in one context is neutral; in another it's an asset, in yet another it's a liability, and whom those statements applies to shifts depending on whether you focus on populations or individuals.
Things with greater merit by definition do things better than things with less merit.
There is no merit in biology.
Something that by definition does things better than all others will succeed above and beyond that of its peers in the long run.
Sometimes, you get lucky. Or unlucky. Why are the eyes of vertebrates wired up arse-backwards? It's not because that design has "merit" or is even more efficient than the competition. There wasn't competition among vertebrate ancestors to develop different eye designs; they were simply built over time out of what was there to work with.
Something like 90% of the oceangoing species on Earth at the time died out during the Permian extinction. Did they have less merit? No, that's not even a biologically useful concept. They survived because they could endure the new conditions, while everything that couldn't died off. That was simply a factor of happenstance evolutionary pathways. Those same traits could have been extreme limiting factors, mere geological moments before.
There are no specific "things" to "Do better." It's entirely dependent on a lineage's evolutionary history (the tools it has to work with) and the environment. Dinosaurs were pretty damn successful by our criteria, until the end of the Cretaceous. There was no *progress* involved.
Natural selection, along with the violence it entails, can not be denied.
Competition doesn't drive natural selection more than things like kin selection, sexual selection, and so forth do. In fact, those other forces are *much more prevalent*. Niches frequently pass to successors who didn't actually oust the ones who already occupied them, but rather took advantage of a sudden vacancy. Competition effects aren't irrelevent, but they're not the only game in town. The overemphasis on them is pretty typical of those who seek to use evolutionary ideas to justify their worldview, though.
Pretend you're a scrambler.