Saturday, October 15, 2016

"The desire to fit in is the root of almost all wrongdoing"

Doing the wrong thing is, for most of us, pretty mundane. It’s not usurping political power or stealing millions of dollars. It’s nervously joining in the chorus of laughs for your co-worker’s bigoted joke or lying about your politics to appease your family at Thanksgiving dinner. We ‘go along to get along’ in defiance of what we really value or believe because we don’t want any trouble. Immanuel Kant calls this sort of excessively deferential attitude servility. Rather than downgrading the values and commitments of others, servility involves downgrading your own values and commitments relative to those of others. The servile person is thus the mirror image of the conventional, self-interested immoralist found in Plato, Hobbes and Hume. Instead of stepping on whomever is in his way to get what he wants, the servile person is, in Kant’s words, someone who ‘makes himself a worm’ and thus ‘cannot complain afterwards if people step on him’.

7 comments:

bagoh20 said...

I wrote a song about this back on 1/15/09:

Howlin at the Moon


Em7
Vampires walkin
A
and they have no fear
Em7
we’re busy bitchin
A
they sneak up from the rear

Em7
No one gives a damn
A
bout what’s bothering you
Em7
If trouble makes you run
A
Then running all you gonna do.

C G
Be careful what you miss
D A
It will all go too soon
C G
Raise up your fist
D Em7 ...A
Go howlin’ at the moon.

I hear it’s not our problem
We all have our own
But that’s what they’ll be sayin’
when it’s you that’s all alone.

War can be noisy
And peace is quiet as a grave
Freedom will not find you
If quiet’s all you crave.

Be careful what you miss
It will all go too soon
Raise up a fist
Go howlin’ at the moon.

Here's a link if you want to hear how it sounded back then. I'd redo it, but unfortunately, I have not improved since then.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bagoh20/30308529016/in/dateposted-public/


bagoh20 said...

I wrote that in response to popular support at the time for our complete withdrawal from Iraq after that hard won victory. I felt that staying and stabilizing Iraq could change the trajectory of the middle east. I still think it was what we should have done. We paid too much, and too much was at stake to walk away. We never really had the option of walking away from the Islamists. 9/11 proved that for me.

ricpic said...

If we can leave the political realm for just a sec....who doesn't go along to get along? How many husbands holdout and bear the total friction that results from not going along with her? That's right....none. I was going to give more examples but that's one helluva example right there!

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Sometimes a sign of maturity is not speaking when you disagree because there is nothing gained by speaking. Some jackass nephew or niece at a Thanksgiving dinner is not worth it.

But when you see something seriously wrong you should speak out and not just go along to get along.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It's a little known fact that Immanuel Kant is the one who coined the term "peer pressure."

AprilApple said...

Bags - that's nice guitar work. clever lyrics... you're a star.

bagoh20 said...

Thanks A.A. Hang Tough.