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Re: [cerebus] Re: OT: Privacy in Rickland (was: Moderate Muslims)

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  • Chris W
    ... Dinner parties are banal get-togethers of the well-off. There’s little, if any, actual purpose to the dinner party, and the purpose of all the attendees
    Message 1 of 836 , Oct 1, 2006
      > > Anybody think right and wrong can be reduced to
      > > something as frivolous as a dinner party? Anyone?
      > Rainmandu says:
      > Society is the dinner party.

      Dinner parties are banal get-togethers of the
      well-off. There’s little, if any, actual purpose to
      the dinner party, and the purpose of all the attendees
      gets subordinated to this standard. Society is a far
      more complex interaction of all members and their
      institutions, the poor, the rich, the middle class,
      the intelligent, the stupid, the New York Times, the
      Ku Klux Klan, The Roman Catholic Church, NARAL, Marvel
      Comics, Marxism, George W. Bush, Howard Dean,
      Objectivism, Homosexuality, Looney Toons and Dave Sim.

      > Rainmandu says:
      > Some people believe that abortion is immoral. Some
      people believe that laws restricting a
      > woman's access to abortion is immoral. If everyone
      at the dinner party agrees with the
      > former, then they agree with the former. If everyone
      at the dinner party agrees with the
      > latter, then they agree with the latter. Keep in
      mind that I never said that consensus equals
      > truth.

      You’ve got consensus determining what is right and
      wrong, and since you don’t acknowledge any higher
      morality than that, how can consensus equal anything
      other than truth? If everyone at the dinner party
      believes 2+2=5 (and there are plenty of people at your
      dinner parties who believe just that), they’re wrong
      and their beliefs are false.

      > If you've read anything I've posted here, you know
      that I'm the one who pretty
      > consistently argues against that idea. But society
      decides what is right and what is wrong
      > (acceptable and unacceptable)

      You’re trivializing again.

      , and in a free society, they (hopefully) base their
      decision to
      > move a thing from "personal (leave people alone)" to
      "public (regulate and control)" on
      > something more than the way it makes us feel. "Your
      freedom ends at my face," once
      > again.

      If you believed freedom was a moral right, then you’d
      have an argument to base that on. However, at the
      dinner party, you’re not even free to wear a tie that
      clashes with your shirt. You are wearing a tie to
      this shindig, right? The invitation says casual dress
      is not optional. And if you bring a date, she’d
      better be in a burkha, or she’ll be stoned to death.
      Yep, it’s a good thing you don’t acknowledge any
      morality beyond what society decides.

      > Rainmandu says:
      > I said I might go into it, but, it turns out, I
      didn't see an opening. I'll use this as my
      > opening. In my original post, I mentioned the things
      that (in the example I provided, that
      > you objected to) my girlfriend and I do in private
      are not things that we do in public, and
      > the reason we don't do them in public is because
      we're both more than aware of the
      > repercusions of doing those things in public.

      I could say that this suggests a certain amount of
      fear of the repercussions of one’s actions. I could
      say this suggests willful ignorance of moral
      repercussions following one’s actions regardless of
      whether they are public or private, even though these
      repercussions are not negated simply by pretending
      that society decides what’s right and wrong. Instead,
      I’ll just summarize your point as “if you do something
      immoral in the forest and nobody knows about it, it’s
      not immoral’.

      That doesn't make those things wrong (my
      > point about what the people at the dinner party
      decide is wrong is wrong at the dinner
      > party, but only because the people at the dinner
      party think it's wrong, that you seem to
      > have had a problem understanding)

      Golly, I don’t let the people at dinner parties decide
      what’s right and wrong for me. And the people at the
      dinner party probably think I’m wrong not to let them.
      This helps explain why I don’t get invited to dinner

      Better to just say, "public you" and
      > "private you." At the dinner party (mingling with
      society - and the degree to which you do
      > this is mostly up to you, which is why your
      suggestion of using the school as a metaphor
      > wouldn't have worked), you're the "public you," or,
      perhaps, some watered down version of
      > the "private you," that's not quite as much the
      "public you" as some of the other people.
      > But again, that sliding scale makes it more
      complicated than it needs to be. "Public you."
      > "Private you."

      It also suggests a lack of integrity by being so
      willing to do ‘what you believe is wrong/not do what
      you believe is right’ simply because the people at the
      dinner party don’t like it.

      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > Then how do we, as a society, determine what is
      > >what is not moral? Spirit of
      > > Truth?
      > > >
      > >
      > > We, as a society, don't determine what is and what
      > > not moral.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > I'm not going to change your mind, and you're not
      going to change mine, but I don't think
      > that makes these discussions pointless. But, uh,
      yes, we, as a society, do exactly that.

      That makes the Soviet Union under Stalin at least as
      moral a society as Iran under Khomeni at least as
      moral as the cavemen at least as moral as Civil
      War-era Texas at least as moral as Texas 2006 at least
      as moral as Massachusetts 2006 at least as moral as
      Beijing 2006 at least as moral as Baghdad under Saddam
      at least as moral as Baghdad 2006 at least as moral as
      Israel. Why? Because all those dinner parties have
      decided they are moral societies, and you refuse to
      acknowledge any objective morality that creates
      repercussions for everything immoral in each of these

      > > Objective morality is objective morality.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > It seems that way, doesn't it? When you're talking
      about rape and murder. But, then, when
      > you're talking about anal sex...

      But if anal sex offends people, you wouldn’t be
      talking about it, would you? Because if anal sex
      offends people, it’s immoral. And then you go and
      separate your morality into what you talk about at
      home as distinct from what you’re like elsewhere, and
      excuse that by pretending there’s no such thing as
      objective morality.

      Heck, rapists and murderers obviously don’t see what
      they do as wrong.

      > Rainmandu says:
      > Rick and I DO occasionally agree about stuff (see:
      prayer at football games). But, again, we,
      > as a society DO determine what is moral or immoral.
      Do I think that's a good thing? I wish
      > there was a lot less of it, to be honest with you.
      But you already knew that.

      Society determines what it thinks is moral or immoral.
      There’s a difference, but you have to acknowledge a
      morality higher and more objective than ‘what society
      thinks’ to see it.

      > > > > Everyone feeling uncomfortable doesn't
      > > > > > equal wrong (except on the social,
      > > > > > dinner party level).
      > >
      > > That's exactly the trivializing I'm talking about,
      > > since it's the example you choose, and for some
      > > seem to think works, that social, dinner party
      > > becomes exactly the definer of morality..
      > Rainmandu says:
      > You see it as trivializing. I see it as explicating.

      It trivializes Right and Wrong to equate them with
      uncomfortable feelings. “It’s like yer part chick or

      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > Exactly. And yet you STILL seem to be missing my
      > > point.
      > > >
      > >
      > > Your point is that people who aren't invited to
      > > parties (because they don't have any friends,
      > > they're anti-social, because they have leprosy,
      > > because they aren't the `right type' to suit those
      > > make the invitations to dinner parties) don't have
      > > anything to do with morality?
      > Rainmandu says:
      > Nope. We're all de facto guests at the dinner party.
      Our level of involvement, our choice of
      > seating (it is, for the most part, a choice), with
      whom we choose to interact, is all down to
      > us as individuals, but we're all a part of society,
      we're all at the party.

      No, because half the fun of throwing a dinner party is
      deciding who NOT to invite, and if everybody is there
      anyway, it’s a lot harder to talk about them. You
      can’t exclude social boors (even though they make
      people feel uncomfortable and are therefore immoral
      according to rain’s moral standard) or someone who’s
      falling over drunk and puking on people.

      > School works better as
      > > a metaphor because we are all required to be
      > > just as we are all members of society, regardless
      > > whether or not we contribute anything or get
      > > from the process. You don't write essays that
      > > influence people's thinking at a dinner party, or
      > > elected class president (or prom queen), or engage
      > > serious study, work on extra-curricular projects,
      > > advance grades or get left behind, suck up to
      > > teachers, be discipline problems, work for their
      > > futures or cut out to get stoned. That's right,
      > > Breakfast Club" is a better metaphor than a dinner
      > > party.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > "The Breakfast Club" is a better movie. And I can
      see why you would prefer it as a
      > metaphor. It really does say a lot about you,

      OK, I’ll bite, what does it say about me? .

      I came up with the school metaphor off the top of my
      head a couple posts ago, and then had to defend it
      here. I hadn’t even thought of The Breakfast Club
      until I wrote the words “prom queen”, and then it was
      just too funny to not use.

      “We accept that we had to give up a whole Saturday as
      punishment for whatever it was we did wrong. What we
      did WAS wrong”. Heh.

      and, if I were you, I would have chosen it, too.
      > I mean, those kids all pretty much determined
      (consensus equals truth) that smoking pot
      > was a good thing to do. But it wasn't just up to
      them, because outside of that room was
      > the principal. Yeah, I can see why you'd go for that
      one. And, yes, my dinner party
      > metaphor does fall apart when you consider that
      there's no host, etc. Unless you want to
      > say that we elect our hosts. But I DID say that no
      metaphor is perfect.

      You can’t have a dinner party if no one’s hosting it,
      so the metaphor fails from the start. Yet that hasn’t
      stopped you from defending it at length, even though
      it’s a bad metaphor. “The basic premise is completely
      false, but other than that, society can be explained

      “The Breakfast Club” isn’t that much better. They
      were only supposed to sit there all day, doing nothing
      else except writing that essay. They couldn’t even
      study. So anything they did beyond the essay was
      wrong in the principal’s eyes, even though that
      contradicts the point of a school (to learn, to
      socialize, to participate in athletics, to get
      indoctrinated). Then there’s the way they didn’t have
      their own choice of who to socialize with, in terms of
      the movie, since the point of the movie was that they
      were from different crowds. One jock, one princess,
      one braniac, one mental case, one criminal, with a
      principal and a janitor somewhere in the building
      makes for a fun movie (although I haven’t seen the
      movie in ages, I still remember it fondly, and writing
      this paragraph was slower because of that), but a bad
      societal metaphor.

      > People who genuinely go hungry don't go
      > > to very many dinner parties, and feeding them is
      > > example of the Right thing to do.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > You keep drifting in and out of the metaphor. If the
      dinner party is society (as I said right
      > from the start), those hungry people are already at
      the dinner party. Throw them a roll,
      > motherfucker!

      It’s the metaphor that keeps moving. Why did they get
      invited to the dinner party if they aren’t fed when
      they sit down at the table like everybody else?

      > People who build,
      > > produce, create, exercise ability, or just plain
      > > for themselves also provide examples of doing the
      > > Right thing. But you don't do that at dinner
      > Rainmandu says:
      > You're just trying to drive me insane by making me
      come up with new dinner party
      > metaphors to include architects. Okay. Fine. There's
      a big, multilayered cake at the dinner
      > party. Those guys over there are responsible for it.

      Architects, industrialists, homemakers, writers,
      graphic designers, software designers, movie producers
      are all part of society. Their contribution to
      society is more than idle chit-chat and using the
      right fork and not offending the host. What’s
      actually driving you insane is that it’s not a good
      metaphor, which is my argument against that metaphor
      in the first place, remember?

      > Rainmandu says:
      > Yes, and if everyone were Margaret Dumont (and
      sometimes on Fox News, it seems that
      everyone is - their latest "concern" over the new
      Paris Hilton video being a good example
      of that), then it's a damn good thing we've got the
      Constitution to protect us from
      everyone at the dinner party deciding that all of
      those things that harm no one should be
      outlawed. You might slap your girlfriend on the ass
      and call her your "little juicebox" in
      private. You might do no such thing in public. But,
      then, you just might, if everyone were
      just like you.

      So do you mean the Constitution exists outside of the
      dinner party? If so, that would mean that a dinner
      party is a bad metaphor for society. If not, when did
      the dinner party write and adopt the Constitution?

      > > > > People attend dinner parties to be seen, to
      > > off
      > > > > their clothes (or house) or to flirt with that
      > > cutey,
      > > > > or to pass the time in chit-chat.
      > > >
      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > And this is contradicting my point how, exactly?

      > >
      > > Society doesn't run on banal get-togethers.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > Generally speaking, society can be quite the banal
      get-together. But, then, I'm something
      > of a misanthrope, so of course I would say that.
      > > > They don't attend
      > > > > dinner parties to fill their stomachs.
      > > >
      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > Okay.
      > > >
      > >
      > > People who attend dinner parties tend to be
      > > enough to satisfy their hunger other ways if they
      > > don't happen to be attending a dinner party that
      > > night. People who go hungry night after night
      > > have morality and are still affected by morality.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > Okay. Those people down the table aren't getting any
      of that big, multilayered cake. Is this
      > whole thing about to veer off into a discussion
      about socialism?

      Wasn’t planning on it. However, if you want, I could
      say that my objection to a metaphor of society as a
      dinner party is exactly the sort of banal construct
      that typifies socialism. Also, this metaphor makes it
      sound like redistributing wealth is as easy as taking
      that big slice of cake off your plate and giving it to
      one of the people who’s plate is empty. But hey, it’s
      your metaphor and you think it’s a good one.

      > > > > I put them
      > > > > > on the same level, where they belong.
      > > > >
      > > > > Are you trying to trivialize addiction,
      > > embezzlement,
      > > > > treason, apathy, [all victimless choices] or
      > > trying to
      > > > > elevate the issue of which fork to use by
      > > them
      > > > > on the same level?
      > > >
      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > Since when are embezzlement and treason
      > > choices? When have I ever said
      > > > or implied any such nonsense?
      > >
      > > Sure, embezzlement is taking something that
      > > belong to you and is illegal, but nobody gets hurt
      > > from it.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > You're NOT serious.

      Stabbing someone in their extremities with a fork
      hurts them. Embezzlement isn’t on that level (and
      what, dare I ask, is the dinner party equivalent of

      > A lot of people have moral beliefs that say
      > > taking from rich companies is perfectly
      > > And how does treason hurt people?
      > Rainmandu says:
      > Treason? You ARE serious?

      Too much like offending the host?

      > > > > "Community standards"? Oh come now.
      > > >
      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > I'll come when I'm damn good and ready. Bring a
      > > Handi-Wipe.
      > > >
      > >
      > > Now apologize to Rick for disagreeing with him on
      > > importance of community standards.
      > Rainmandu says:
      > I DO agree with Rick on the "importance" of
      community standards (sort of - that's why I
      > put those quotes there). Where we disagree (and have
      done for quite some time) is that I
      > believe those standards should be (with a few
      obvious exceptions) organic ("culture is the
      > sum total of what everyone is doing right now") and
      that the law should stay out of it, and
      > he does NOT.

      But if we accept your argument (“culture is the sum
      total of what everyone is doing right now”) then what
      many people do is write laws, pass laws, enforce laws
      and punish those who break laws, i.e. being part of
      the culture as well. How can you ask the law to stay
      out of the culture that creates the law?

      Oh, right. By trivializing morality (“Right and
      Wrong”) and putting it on the same level as feeling
      uncomfortable (“I think we should stop talking about
      this now”).

      > Freedom of speech
      > > is a moral issue, the right of the individual to
      > > express themselves without fear of punishment. In
      > > your dinner party metaphor, if your hosts or the
      > > guests are offended by Muhammad cartoons, then
      > > cartoons of Muhammad are immoral. If they are
      > > offended by disagreeing with feminism, then
      > > disagreeing with feminism is immoral. If they are
      > > offended by gay marriage, then gay marriage is
      > > immoral. And if the community is offended by porn…
      > Rainmandu says:
      > And, yes or no, we live in a society that does just
      that very thing?

      No, we don’t. A cartoon of Muhammed may indeed be
      immoral because mocking the Prophet may be objectively
      wrong. But that has nothing to do with whether our
      society is offended by it or not. All it would mean
      is that Muslim societies on that point are more
      objectively moral than our own, even as our right to
      freely speak is more objectively moral than theirs.

      And I want you to say it flat out: “Porn is immoral
      if it offends the community because the community
      decides what is moral or immoral.”

      Again, just because I'm
      > pointing out that society does these things, that
      doesn't mean I APPROVE of those things.
      > Which is why I always bring up the thing about
      proving harm, and drawing a line in the
      > sand, and keeping the government out of our lives,
      and "of the 'does no harm to others'
      > variety, and your freedom and my face, and on and on
      and on and on... Take every time
      > I've ever said that the community can go fuck itself
      (and I've said it a lot) and replace
      > "community" with "dinner party."

      In other words, doing what you yourself say is
      immoral, telling the host and everyone else at the
      dinner party to go fuck themselves. That’s no way to
      run a dinner party, and if society is actually like a
      dinner party, what you’re doing is deliberately trying
      to shut down society on the basis of what makes you
      feel uncomfortable.

      Fortunately society isn’t like a dinner party at all,
      so it goes on despite your telling it to go fuck

      > > > Rainmandu says:
      > > > I could go "dark," I could go "controversial, "
      > > I'll go "light"... Is it wrong for a girl
      > > > to go
      > > > shopping in the downtown area of a city near you
      > > (well, not near YOU - heh) wearing
      > > > just a
      > > > two-piece bikini and a pair of flip-flops? There
      > > really IS a point to the question, but it
      > > > kind
      > > > of depends on your answer. I'll wait.
      > >
      > > Is it objectively wrong? I have no idea. Is it
      > > in my opinion? No, not really, although I think
      > > probably a bad idea. Even if she goes through the
      > > entire shopping trip without being hassled for it
      – by
      > > people who are offended, by people who try to hit
      > > her, by people who try to assault her – I think it
      > > would still be a bad idea, just in the way it
      > > demonstrates the pointlessness of her choice of
      > > clothing. I would advise her not to go shopping
      > > dressed like Ronald McDonald either. But it's her
      > > choice. I would say that storeowners who require
      > > clothing have the right to keep her from shopping
      > > their stores.
      >Rainmandu says:
      > In many cities (not sure how many, but it IS a lot),
      it's against the law for a woman to walk
      > around in the downtown area in a two-piece bikini.
      Quite a few people believe that it
      > SHOULD be against the law, and they believe it
      because a girl walking around like that is
      > (in their opinion) immoral and / or spreading
      immorality. Heck, I've heard people refer to
      > girls in low-rider jeans (with the thong showing -
      you know what I mean) as immoral (and
      > that's when they're being nice). And they believe
      that a girl in a bikini in a downtown area
      > is immoral for some of the reasons you gave, but
      also (and most notably) because the
      > mostly uncovered human body (what, now?) makes them

      So what’s the point to the question that depended so
      much on my answer?

      > Rainmandu says:
      > I've never heard the song. I was going by the title.

      You mean you’re judging something on surface details?
      More importantly, how can you of all people be
      unfamiliar with Heart’s late 80’s comeback? They’re
      girls, they rock, and it’s the 80s! Granted they were
      being taken over by outside songwriters, which Ann and
      Nancy didn’t like so much, but it’s at least as cool
      as that Led Zeppelin rip-off “Barracuda”. And
      “Stranded” holds up better after the years than “All I
      Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” in my opinion.

      Don't say I never did anything for you.


      "I Pray, Ole" - David Bowie

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    • Jeff Tundis
      ... someone, but he doesn t have a ... asking. And it has no answer. ... sense as your question. ... -Jeff
      Message 836 of 836 , Oct 10, 2006
        > Rainmandu says:
        > This is stupid. If Larry (I'm dragging Larry into this) shoots
        someone, but he doesn't have a
        > gun, how does that hurt anyone? That's basically what you're
        asking. And it has no answer.
        > Unless the answer is "Melons." Because that makes about as much
        sense as your question.
        > Rainmandu
        > "Electricity" - Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark

        -------- Umm... Larry steals people's souls by photographing them?

        -------- What!?

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