Let's Think Together
Or Selective brain function?
Published on May 22, 2007 By ThinkAloud In Misc
There is nothing more dishonest than being morally inconsistent. if someone is immoral in a consistent way at least you can argue with them based on what their values are and try to show them that they are on the wrong side of the issue. However, when they are morally inconsistent you know that they know what the right side of the issue is since they go there whenever they choose. Unfortunately, it seems that they choose the right side ONLY when it suits their agenda or whatever their objectives are.

It is really hypocrite and flagrantly dishonest to say you are against violence and coercion (even provoked ones) in personal everyday societal interactions with people around you and at the same time have no objection whatsoever to your country adopt force and coercion as means of interaction with other nations of the world without being provoked.

The same goes for people who support unnecessary war as long as they don’t have any personal stake in the matter. Once someone they know is killed in it or if the war goes on for a long time than what they thought, their view changes 180 degrees in a flash.

I see this way of moral inconsistency allover the place: In tax issues, poverty issues, health care issues,etc. The typical explanation they usually give when they change their mind is "I learned my lesson" or "I was young and naive". This of course is BS and they know it. Before they changed their view, they knew what the moral side of the issue was. They just didn’t go there till it hit them in the face and became personal.

How convenient. Be moral and civilized in your personal life, but when it comes to the nation and to other nations.... naaaah.

Is this a real moral choice these people make or is it selective brain function? Their brain works when it is personal and it doesn’t when it is not?

I don’t think it is the latter, since this is the way non-human brains work. They choose sides based only on their self-interest. Natural selfishness you might call it. Humans are not supposed to be that way.

It must be the first then, they just select the moral side Only when it suits their self-interest.

In both cases the result is the same, the difference is that one is natural instincts, the other is by choice.

It is sad that some people behave that way. Unfortunately, these days so many of us do.

Comments (Page 1)
on May 23, 2007
I hear what you’re saying however I think most of what you’re describing is just a natural way of dealing with suffering around us. If everyone empathized with complete strangers like they do with people they know, are close to, or even just identify with, we would probable all go mad.

The degree in which we empathize is the main difference between a liberal and conservative. A liberal can place himself or herself or someone they care about into the shoes of a complete stranger. I think that’s why some of left are a little looney. It’s hard enough just deeply caring about the people we’re close to, little alone the whole world.
on May 24, 2007
And you think a Conservative cannot? That we have no empathy?


If you re-read the first sentence I think it clearly states that I think conservatives empathize, just to a lesser degree than liberals.

A liberal stands in a poor person's shoes and says..."I wish I had some money." They then lobby for more entitlements.A Conserative stands in a poor person's shoes and says..."I wish I had a JOB." They then lobby for legislation that encourages economic growth.


You ever wonder why this is often true? It’s because conservatives can take a more reasoned approach to solving problems like poverty, it’s not as emotional of an issue with them. Liberals get very emotional about it and take it very personal, like it was a friend in need, which often leads to the “just do something now” solutions which can be short sighted.

on May 25, 2007
I don't see one response as more empathetic than the other, and in fact, I see the conservative response as MORE empathetic because the solutions they seek are far more permanent, and their good effect long lasting.


No, conservatives are definitely not more empathetic but I’m not trying to say that’s a bad thing. I’m just trying to illustrate differences and one of the biggest reasons for that difference.

After the excuse is made, the liberal looks not to punish that behavior in order to prevent it's repetition, but out of 'empathy' seeks to soften or completely eliminate any natural (and painful) consequences of that behavior.


That’s my point; we’re more often than not enablers for those we care about. We forgive are friends over and over again for doing stupid shit and even try to protect them from the consequences of their mistakes. And forget about how much crap we let our offspring get away with and how we try to protect them from consequences. You said it yourself liberals do this out of the empathy they feel even for a stranger.

on May 26, 2007
If everyone empathized with complete strangers like they do with people they know, are close to, or even just identify with, we would probable all go mad


First, I apologize for not responding as promptly as i would have liked to, i was away on business and didnt even have a chance to log on.

now as to the above quote..

i dont think this is true. and the strange thing is how can anyone feel that other fellow citizens are "complete strangers" specially if the issue is not just a few people.

Me for example, i know for sure that no one, no matter what, can eliminate poverty. However, when I think of our nation as a "whole" i feel it is a terrible thing that we have tens of millions of people living in very poor condition or homeless. it is not that i feel "sooo mushy and soft" about few poor or homeless people or even hundreds of thousands of them. i feel an insult when i know that in our rich nation there are tens of millions who are REALLY that way.

How to solve that is another issue. but the solution that every person thinks is the correct one is usually based on the person's attitude. if he/she feels the way i do, they will reach the same conclusion. but if they consider these millions "complete strangers" then the correct solution in their opinion will be different.

my point is really this: how can you feel that your fellow citizens are "complete starngers"?

and on major issues that affects the world-at-large, like wars, terrorism, AIDS, ..etc how can you feel disconnected while you KNOW that these things affects you whether you like it or not?

sooner or later, things that we think are not directly affecting us personally come back and in fact impact our lives. some of us have short memories .... that is why not many remember the cause-effect relationship between our own actions and the things we face in life both on personal and national levels



on May 26, 2007
A liberal stands in a poor person's shoes and says..."I wish I had some money." They then lobby for more entitlements.A Conserative stands in a poor person's shoes and says..."I wish I had a JOB." They then lobby for legislation that encourages economic growth.



Before i answer your question, let me say this: i dont consider myself a liberal or a conservative. But honestly i never heard a "Liberal" say what you imply here. and i think that conservatives like to spread that myth in order to get people convinced with their views. in other words, i find it very dishonest on the conservative movement's part to use deciet as a mean of distracting and misleading people. it is very obvious in many cases nowadays.

the difefrence in the case you mentioned here is that "liberals" recognize that not ALL poors and homeless people are able to manage a job. the conservatives have no such distinction. that is the real difference.

If you look back at any program that "Liberals" proposed to fight poverty it always contained two purposes: create more jobs and help those who cant get one for one reason or another. there are always the chance of abuse, but corruption and abuse are not a "liberal" monopoly. and the liberal "people" (as opposed to "liberal" politicians") always say lets us correct the abuse not eliminate the programs. If abuse and corruption are reasons to eliminate programs, and i know you will flip on this , the most obvious program to be eliminated should be the military. its corruption and ineffeciencies are rampant but no one ever suggested we eliminate it. Anything done and managed by group of people is subject to the chance of abuse and corruption. we should fix that and try to minimize the damage not to say eliminate it and justify that by the abuse and ineffeciency involved. ALL businesses and government activities are prone to that and the good ones manage to fight the problems not eliminate the programs.

as misguided as *I* believe liberals are


this is really funny .... isnt it LW? misguided??? just like that? how "hoolier-than-thou" can you get .
Just kidding. it just sounds funny coming from you LW.

Now to your question:

So who decides what's 'moral?'


This is completely different question. i will answer it soon. however i was not questioning the morality of anyone. as a matter of fact i said i can understand if someone have a different stand on an issue that "I" consider immoral. i can accept that and I can argue with it. what i was questioning is the fact that "the same person" have two opposing stands on the same issue. the change in the stand comes when the issue becomes "personal". that is what i considered "moral inconsistency".

now to the heart of your question: who decides what's 'moral?

I believe that for each person, the "belief" system they were raised on decides that. and what is amazing is this: regardless of which belief system you look at, the moral values with respect to the major issues are the same. I am sure you and others will argue that is not true (you mentioned the difference between Christians as an example) but i think this arguement is a false one. dont look at what people do, look at the belief system ITSELF as it is set in its main documents.

From what I know about the 3 major Abrahamic religions, they are almost the same when it comes to the major issues, like theft, deciet, murders, sex, men-women relationships, dealing with others...etc. sometimes it is a word-for-word rules and directives. Other systems are not far off either.So regardless of what system you believe in, the moral sides of most issues are really not in question.

The problem we have has to do with the issue i raised in this article. Moral inconsistency is at the heart of the problem. People try to justify their actions by hiding behind slogans that marginalize "Values". if they really honest they will admit that each issue is never cut-and-dray Either/Or choice.

take abortion and death penalty that you mentioned: in both cases the issue is moral or immoral based on the circumstances. any belief system takes circumstances in consideration. nothing in this life is "morally" cut-and-dry thing. everything must be judged based on the circumstances in which it occured. I must add here that the circumstances are also determined based on the belief systems and are not a personal choice.

I must also add that i recognize that any belief system is subject to different understanding and interpretations by different scholars of that system. however, each system makes clear what its major guidelines are and any interpretations that deviates from that becomes clearly biased and not honest understanding of what the system intends. but people do that. that is why i said look at the system ITSELF not what people do.
on May 26, 2007
And my second question has to do with self-interest. Do you believe acting in one's self-interest is automatically immoral? Wouldn't you agree that often, acting in your own interest IS the moral thing to do in certain circumstances?


I certainly agree with you on that. and I am surprised that you say:

I don't see morality and self-interest as being mutually exclusive, yet it seems you do?


How did you get the idea that i disagree with you on that?

But, there is a difefrence between self-interest and selfishness. i am sure we agree on that. and that is also determined by the morality of each person based on their belief system. selfishness is a complete disregard for others' self-interst which leads to decisions that benefits you but hurts the others without a legitimate reasons that compels you to do that.

as an example: people who will defend their own country to the death AND at the same time support invading another country for no good reason AND call the people there Terrorists and insurgents even though what those people are doing is no more than fighting the invaders of their land as any one of us will do to the invaders of our country. That is selfishness. You dont give others the same rights that you claim for yourself. that is not self-interest on our part. if our invasion was in response to a good reason, then the invasion would be justified. but still, we should expect those people to fight back, not say that they will meet us with flowers and build our strategy based on that..... hope you get the point.

seeking your just self-interest doesnt give you the right to assume that others dont have the same feelings and values that you have. you should know that others will defend their land as WE do, and if we are just in our attack on them we should be ready to deal with that when we defeat their armies. all of that if we had a good reason to attack, but denying them the rights we claim for ourselves when the invasion was not justified in the first place makes the whole thing even more immoral.

The same thing goes for any other issue that people claim things for themselves but deny others the same. like opposing abortion till they have a need for it, or opposing government program till they need it. or in reverse, support and benefir from government program THEN they oppose them after they reach their destination safely. Justice Thomas comes to mind. and many many people i see and hear them talking and i wonder where would they be if what they oppose now was not there for them. Big-talk business people do the same thing. remember Chrysler bail out, savings banks bail out, and all other programs that give-away billions to businesses for no good reason but when it comes to social programs they turn around and start talking about self-help and personal responsibilities even for people who obviously need help. whether this is right or wrong is not the issue but they should at least be consistent.
on May 26, 2007
"Now that I'm safe, I'm pro-choice!"


this is funny too. you made the right decision, why burden the poor baby with this heavy-and ugly stuff. but it is telling really .... i think you got my point.

How in the world did we get that way? and how do we get back to sanity and common sense?

I wish i had an answer.
on May 27, 2007
If conservative thought becomes the dominant ideology, humanity will destroy itself.

Yea that’s sanity ">

on May 27, 2007
"Yea that’s sanity"


Especially considering that the average LIBERAL from 50 years ago would be far too conservative for todays liberal circles. Given the idea that conservatism destroys humanity, I'm shocked that somehow we survived, oh, 100,000 years without the benefit of modern liberalism.

Here's a little excercise. Watch the news for riots, caused by political and economic issues. Compare how many "conservative" nations have them as opposed to more liberal nations, like France, where there are riots regularly now. Ask yourself if all this kindness breeds contentment.
on May 27, 2007
Nowhere in my brief sarcastic reply to LW’s brief and sarcastic statement did I suggest liberalism should be the prevailing ideology. I believe in a balance.

Especially considering that the average LIBERAL from 50 years ago would be far too conservative for todays liberal circles. Given the idea that conservatism destroys humanity, I'm shocked that somehow we survived, oh, 100,000 years without the benefit of modern liberalism.


Well 99,900 years of that statement is irrelevant since we didn’t have the ability then to destroy ourselves. And yes I believe we survived thus far the nuclear era because of liberal thought, so have a little respect.

Here's a little excercise. Watch the news for riots, caused by political and economic issues. Compare how many "conservative" nations have them as opposed to more liberal nations, like France, where there are riots regularly now. Ask yourself if all this kindness breeds contentment.


Your comparing riots to wars, that’s a riot. Hell the only time anything other than property gets damaged in a liberal riot is when the police start cracking heads. How many people were killed in that, I don’t think that cartoon is funny riot?

Here's an exersize for you. Name one war or one act of genocide led by liberal ideology.

However as you pointed in the “Religion of Peace” blog it’s people not the ideology that cause things to get crazy..

on May 27, 2007
Watch the news for riots, caused by political and economic issues. Compare how many "conservative" nations have them as opposed to more liberal nations, like France, where there are riots regularly now. Ask yourself if all this kindness breeds contentment.


Name one war or one act of genocide led by liberal ideology.


I believe if there was moral consistency both types of acts would be deminished. people will have less reason to riot and nations would be less trigger-happy.

If we just apply the same standards to others as we do for ourselves, things would improve in a very big way.
on May 28, 2007

Here's an exersize for you. Name one war or one act of genocide led by liberal ideology.

Without google or a lot of delving - Stalinist USSR, Maoist China. Tibet. Hungary.

on May 28, 2007
How are Socialist revolutions against imperialist oppressors, led by a liberal ideology?
on May 28, 2007

How are Socialist revolutions against imperialist oppressors, led by a liberal ideology?

To deny that Communism is a liberal ideology is to so define liberalism as nothing can meet your definition.  However, to the vast majority, Communism is a liberal ideology. 

Second Point:  And who was threatening Russia between 1918 and 1940?  And was that threat enough to murder 20million?

I guess you can say that Tibet was threatening China too, as I know they were a fierce warring nation prior to their "utopian" assimilation.  Hungary, as well as Poland were very dangerous threats to the old USSR as well.  At least Poland Shared a border from which to launch their blitzkreig against Stalin and Kruschev.

on May 28, 2007
To deny that Communism is a liberal ideology is to so define liberalism as nothing can meet your definition. However, to the vast majority, Communism is a liberal ideology.


How can Communism be defined as a "Liberal Ideology" while there is nothing "Liberal" in that system? Working people have no rights to unionize, no choice but to work where the State tells them to, no voice in determining what goes on in their place of work while the "Elite" have a dictatorial authority over whoever have the misfortune of reporting to them. And the people in general, workers or not have no voice in anything concerning their country?

"Liberalism" is not that. In fact it is the exact opposite of that. but this in any case is another issue.