Tuesday, January 03, 2017

You're Evil

It is your doom to be so.

Consider this. Had Robert Byrd died in the early 1960s, he would have been considered an evil man, an unrepentant Klansman.

Had Hillary passed away in 2000, she would have been a homophobe for opposing same-sex marriages.

Don't even get me started on Robert E. Lee. No matter what he did that was good and noble, he was definitely evil because he fought for the Confederacy. Had he lived another 150 years, he may well have been able to redeem himself like Robert Byrd, but he did not and now he's on the Wrong Side of History.

You will be, too. That's the beauty of modern ethics. What was innocent before is evil today. Since these ethics are continually shifting, it's preposterous to think that there is not going to be some future time wherein something you're doing today will be considered the epitome of evil, outweighing everything else you have done.

Try that on your kids' teachers next time they teach lessons about the horrors of Western civilization. "Oh yeah, Ms. Garfinkel? Well you're evil and I refuse to allow little Edgar here to be taught by an evil person!"

That should provide hours of entertainment.


IlĂ­on said...

Ah, the Tyranny of Present Year.

tim eisele said...

I guess I'm confused as to what point you are trying to make. I thought you believed in an absolute, unchanging code of ethics, but what you just wrote looks like you are saying, in effect, "The KKK was OK in the old days". Which, if ethics don't change, would mean that you think that the KKK is still A-OK. I don't think you actually believe that, but in that case, why did you say it?

But, on the other hand, if your point is that things that we currently consider bad used to be OK, but aren't now, then isn't that the moral relativism that you have always argued against?

K T Cat said...

Tim, my point is that unless you are willing to judge people of the past by the standards of their time, you are doomed to the same judgment in the future that you give the KKK today.

Also, the KKK is a more dramatic example than judging Robert E. Lee. The KKK was considered immoral at the time by many while Lee was not. However, today, we see Lee's name being taken off of schools and monuments.

To extend it in foreshadowing of a future blog post, if you're not willing to judge everyone of the past by the same standards, you're a howling bigot. For instance, calling out the KKK is all well and good, provided you rip the Ashanti a new one as well. After all, you could hardly have had the KKK without the Ashanti.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I'm also in favor of absolute, unchanging ethics which makes the people every era fairly equal. Yep, Lee fought for slavery. Meanwhile, we've attacked traditional marriage, wrecking millions of lives. The people of the 1860s would have been as horrified at us as we are at them.

Throwing stones at the past seems counter-productive to me. I'm not sure, but didn't the ancient Greeks own slaves? Time to throw out Socrates! Yay! Progress!

Again, the point is that with this logic, at some time in the future, all of our current heroes will be considered hideous people as well. Maybe we should just cut to the chase and thoroughly hate ourselves now.

tim eisele said...

I guess I'm going to have to wait for your future blog post, because it sure looks to me like you are on the one hand saying that you favor judging people by the standards of their time (which is practically the textbook definition of moral relativism) while on the other hand saying that we shouldn't do that very thing because morals are absolute. It sure looks to me like you are trying to hold two mutually incompatible beliefs in your head at the same time, and I don't really see any way to resolve this other than by either dropping one of them, or adopting something like "tiers" of morality, where there is a high-level code that is fixed and unchanging, along with a low-level code that changes depending on the local standards.