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Old 11-12-2013, 12:40 AM
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Clarification about my Nazi-related comments: I knew that Germany was never "all Nazi," and I knew that the Nazis took "their own land over first." Which is kind of a side detail anyway. What I was getting at was that "the world at large" had a beef against Germany as a whole because it was there that the Nazis got started and established their center of power. Lots people surely saw many or most Germans as supporting the Nazis even if they weren't Nazis themselves. Now was that a misperception on "everyone's" part? Oh yes, largely so at the least. Many Germans tried to resist what the Nazis were doing (and many Germans were Jews and the earliest victims of the Holocaust). But much of the rest of the world probably didn't realize/appreciate all that. So, the upshot of all this misperception was that a lot of people (perhaps especially Americans but maybe English folks too and who knows) were, during WWII, really pissed off at Germany as a whole (and by extension much or most of its people).

Now for a reiteration of the point I wanted to make about all that: I think it's really cool that, after all that, people pretty much worldwide have come to downright like or even love Germany and by extension most/all of its native peoples. So, what have we learned? that people can learn how to hate the sin (the Holocaust) but love the sinner (Germany the country and its previously-misunderstood citizens by extension). Considering how awful the Holocaust was, I reckon it took quite a motion of "forgiveness" on "the world's part" to change so much in its opinion of Germany in so short a time.

Definitely not saying Germany "needed" to be forgiven. Just saying that it *was* forgiven (or should I say, at least came to be much better understood), and isn't that something. Yay for hating the sin and loving the sinner! It can be done, sez that one example at least. Forgiving Hitler and the Nazis themselves would obviously be even more amazing, and some people including some Holocaust victims have managed to do just that. Even better! Astonishing as well.

Re: morality ... just so we're clear, let me officially state that I do agree that morals and ethics are inevitably subjective. Lots of people disagree with me on that point of course (e.g. religious zealots who consider the Bible and church authorities to be the final words on all things ethical and moral). Nevertheless, I still believe in *trying* to behave ethically and morally, using whatever resources (e.g. diverse literature and discussions with diverse people having the objective of giving morals and ethics considerable thought) are reasonably available to one to make the best guesses one can within the confines of one's own abilities.

Meanwhile, I expect other people to make "different moral or ethical choices" than I would because they have a different understanding (and hence have guessed differently) than I have about what constitutes ethical/moral behavior. Not always a happy situation, but for the most part, I think I can live with that. For example, right-to-lifers will generally continue to try to outlaw abortion, and even though I can't in good conscience support them in that effort, I can still respect the likelihood that they're trying to do the right thing (as am I).

It can certainly be argued that there should be "no laws about anything" since ethics and morals are so subjective, but I can at least understand why "society as a whole" feels that it needs to enforce certain things (Confining to either prison or at least a psychiatric institution someone who's just committed a series of violent rapes seems to me like a particularly understandable example).

Now socially pressuring (let alone physically forcing) people into cutting their hair, living monogamously, or even wearing clothes especially when illogical due to hot weather, stuff like that, in my opinion is certainly going overboard in the "mission to see that basic ethics/morals are carried out in society." Hair growth, polyamory, and public nudity are not ethical/moral issues in my eyes; they are merely matters of personal choice and preference.

Sooo ... where does one draw the line between stuff that "needs" enforcement (e.g. violent-rape prevention) and stuff that *doesn't need* enforcement (or even persuasion)? I don't precisely know, and I seeeriously doubt that anyone really knows. Again, as with the personal exercise of morals and ethics using one's best (hopefully educated) guess, the best I can expect any society to do is to try to conduct its affairs morally/ethically to the best of its (hopefully educated) collective understanding. Sucky state of affairs but there it is.

Re: your definitions of, and distinctions between, guilt and shame ... sound fine to me.
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