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How does the desire for moral license affect your decisions?

 
 
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:27 pm
Moral license.
Face it. We all desire moral license. It's that thing that encourages us to bump the accelerator on the highway of law.
I desire it. I challenge anyone to prove he or she does not desire it.

Well, if that is true, why are we not all savages in the most frightening sense of the word?
Social Contract?
Enlightened self interest?
Learned conscience and/or inborn conscience?
If you are a believer: Did God create us that way? If so, why.
Or, is this a good thing? Should we sympathize with the refrains of I did it my way?
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:38 pm
@neologist,
You are really painting with a very, very wide brush here, Neo.

Not like you.

What do you mean that "we all desire moral license?"

And while you are at it...how do you know what I desire...or are you just guessing?
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:41 pm
Oh for pity's sake, Neo, give it a rest. Are you entering your dotage?
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:42 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Never met anyone yet who did not either admit to or display this tendency. Have you never had the desire to exceed the speed limit?
Cheat the tax man?
Anything?
BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:43 pm
@neologist,
Quote:
Well, if that is true, why are we not all savages in the most frightening sense of the word?


We are pack animals like the wolf/dog and all human morals are base on that fact no god needed at all and that why we are not "savages" IE caring just for our own welfare instead of taking into account the welfare of the pack.

0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:48 pm
@Setanta,
This is a subject I have mentioned many times before without giving an explanation of what I mean. The great majority of people I meet everyday are well intentioned, law abiding, and charitable. I think I'm a pretty decent fellow, also. But I know we all have the tendency to pad our own sofas.

Freud described it as id. Some call it animal nature. But long ago I decided to call it desire for moral license as I think it a more descriptive term. Call it what you wish. We all deal with it one way or another. Some with quite frightening consequences, I might add.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:52 pm
I don't desire "moral license," and i'm getting sick and tired of this holier than thou rant of yours, which is nothing but a not at all disguised attempt to push your JW exegesis and orthodox doctrine. You're losin' it.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 12:53 pm
@Setanta,
Moral license is not a JW term
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:18 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

Never met anyone yet who did not either admit to or display this tendency. Have you never had the desire to exceed the speed limit?
Cheat the tax man?
Anything?


Most people make fun of me because I keep to the speed limit (for the most part)...but I do occasionally exceed it. I stop at EVERY stop sign...and at every red light before making a right turn on red as allowed in New Jersey.

I do not think I have ever cheated in any way on my tax returns.

I have broken laws...and I have exercised some moral laxity...especially when it comes to smoking pot.

But your central thesis, Neo...that we are all savages on that account...is not up to your usual standard of thought. (Keep in mind that I often remind people that our species is just recently down out of the trees!)

But I will listen in and see what others say. I may be wrong.
Jack of Hearts
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:19 pm
@neologist,

The Talented Mr. Ripley: Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn't it, in your head. You never meet anybody that thinks they're a bad person.

Being a psychopath isn't a yes/no determination. One's actions may tip the scales, but one's degree is probably on some bell curve that we all are on. To say we all desire moral license, is as to desire avoiding punishment. We are social animals, and we are born with a natural instinct to act in harmony with others. Still, that's not to say we all are/are not, born with some degree of having an 'alpha personality', (which also can be plotted on a bell curve).
As social animals go, I feel it's very safe to say, human society is, by far, the most complex. When you apply what George Orwell described as "groupthink", where individuals belong to an uncountable number of groups, you get an existence exactly as sane and moral as the one we have. How can it be any other way?






0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:23 pm
I know Christians who always go out with extra cash in their pockets to hand out to beggars they might bump into; they do it for no other reason than that they like helping people; boy are Christians nuts!
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:24 pm
@Frank Apisa,
I din't say we are all savages: I asked why we are moral beings in spite of it.
And I did not say we commit these 'amoral' acts. I said we generally are tempted.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:28 pm
And , BTW, my assertion is not the same as the concept of 'moral self-licensing' the phenomenon of using one's past humanitarian acts as permission to cut corners on future acts. Rather it is the underlying character inclination by which we may be wont to do so.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:29 pm
@Romeo Fabulini,
But many who do not call themselves christian are generous to others.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:30 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

I din't say we are all savages: I asked why we are moral beings in spite of it.


Well, that is not quite what you asked...but I get your point...and I was further from the truth than you on this.

My bad.


Quote:
And I did not say we commit these 'amoral' acts. I said we generally are tempted.


Once again, that is not quite what you said. But again, I get your drift.

My complain with you and your thesis here is that you seem to be attempting to make universal what apparently applies to you. You do it to the point where you ask us to prove to you that we do not do what you suppose we all do.

Many of the comments already offered reflect other misgivings of mine in your topic.

But, I will hear you out.



neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:36 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Well, I asked a lot of questions, perhaps too many.

But I hope I made it clear that I struggle with my own desire as well.
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:42 pm
Quote:
Neologist said:@RF- But many who do not call themselves christian are generous to others

Nevertheless when the chips are down and the going gets tough, my life experience has been that you can always rely on a nonchristian to let you down because their primal instinct to put themselves first will take over.
True Christians on the other hand will NEVER let anybody down and will stick with them to the end because it's in their nature.
For example Brit TV star Julian Clary said that when he was a mixed-up teenager he asked a Christian guy to pray for him. He met him again 30 years later and asked "Do you remember me?" to which the guy replied "Of course I do, I've been praying for you every day since"..Smile

Jesus sticks with people too like he said- "Whoever comes to me I'll never turn away....I'll be with you always to the end of the world"- (Matt 11:28, John 6:37, Matt 28:20)
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 01:46 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

Well, I asked a lot of questions, perhaps too many.

But I hope I made it clear that I struggle with my own desire as well.


I tend not to struggle with it all that much, Neo. In effect, I champion the other side of that coin. I say: Take more of my individual liberties and privacy away if needed for society to function better.

My comments in the gun threads...and in the Snowden thread...and my comments on "individual liberty"...all seem to tend in that direction.

Civilization is based on the notion that individuals give up freedoms (license) in order to allow for society to function properly.

Our Constitution, although it is conceived by most to be a document extending us freedoms, really is a means of taking them away...and allowing for the creation of institutions (and laws) to take away more of them. Essentially, pure license is the prevailing condition. Society demands that we curtail individual rights to exercise license...in order for "society" to exist.

Or at least that is my opinion.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 03:14 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
. . . I tend not to struggle with it all that much, Neo. In effect, I champion the other side of that coin. I say: Take more of my individual liberties and privacy away if needed for society to function better. . .
Are you saying its OK for government (of some kind) to restrict (block) your desire for moral license? Or that your desire can somehow be reduced by fiat? I'm not saying one may be preferable; I'm just trying to get an idea of how folks think.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2014 03:23 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:
. . . I tend not to struggle with it all that much, Neo. In effect, I champion the other side of that coin. I say: Take more of my individual liberties and privacy away if needed for society to function better. . .
Are you saying its OK for government (of some kind) to restrict (block) your desire for moral license?


All I am sharing are opinions here, Neo.

My answer to your question is that it is my opinion: YES...it is okay for the government to restrict my desire for moral license.

Quote:
Or that your desire can somehow be reduced by fiat?


You have to give that another go-around for me to answer that. What do you mean "by fiat?"

Quote:
I'm not saying one may be preferable; I'm just trying to get an idea of how folks think.


I am willing to surrender my person license, Neo, to government.

And since I feel it is the only way that society can properly function, I certainly would champion government restricting the license of all persons. I feel, in other words, that restricting unfettered freedom is a legitimate and reasonable function of government.
 

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