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Author Topic: The Myth of Compromise  (Read 3873 times)
Jalum
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November 10, 2011, 03:33:19 PM
 #41


Hi Atlas, why the new identity?



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November 10, 2011, 03:38:04 PM
 #42

If you are on land that you believe you own and someone else believes is rightfully theirs, the choices are compromise (go to court) or violence (get a gun).

There's no ethical dilemma there. Actually, if they go to court, it might actually mean both have the correct ethical principles, i.e., both agree that the rightful owner should control the land. Who's the rightful owner is not an ethical question. The quote in OP refers to compromising regarding ethical principles. And I believe I agree with it. A compromise between ethically right and ethically wrong is comparable to a compromise between food and poison.
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November 10, 2011, 03:47:57 PM
 #43

Your father didn't make a will but before he died he promised the land to you.  He also promised it to your sister.  

Again there's no ethical dilemma in your example. That's just a problem for the heirs to solve.

An ethical compromise would be something on the lines of "I agree it's wrong to steal, but in this(these) case(s) it's not".
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November 10, 2011, 05:40:52 PM
 #44

A friend once told me, "Nature is murky and complex, therefore ethics has to be murky and complex. Everything in ethics is a grey area".

I don's see how the latter necessarily follows from the former.  The whole point of ethics is that is not natural. It's a purely artificial, abstract set of rules created by humans. A bit like mathematics.

Besides, even the most "mature", "moderate", and "sober" individuals are idealistic teenage extremists on some issues.  Usually the ones that have been resolved by said extremists in the distant past.

I have never met a "moderate" who isn't absolutist on the topics of slavery, women's suffrage, or racial segregation for instance. No stance other than Total Abolition is considered reasonable by them.




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November 12, 2011, 08:49:24 AM
 #45


Again there's no ethical dilemma in your example. That's just a problem for the heirs to solve.

An ethical compromise would be something on the lines of "I agree it's wrong to steal, but in this(these) case(s) it's not".


What of a situation where someone needs to steal to feed someone starving to death? Or steals medication to prevent imminent death? (e.g. anaphylactic shock)

In both cases, the thief is destitute and has no means to pay.

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November 12, 2011, 08:52:26 AM
 #46

A friend once told me, "Nature is murky and complex, therefore ethics has to be murky and complex. Everything in ethics is a grey area".

I don's see how the latter necessarily follows from the former.  The whole point of ethics is that is not natural. It's a purely artificial, abstract set of rules created by humans. A bit like mathematics.

Besides, even the most "mature", "moderate", and "sober" individuals are idealistic teenage extremists on some issues.  Usually the ones that have been resolved by said extremists in the distant past.

I have never met a "moderate" who isn't absolutist on the topics of slavery, women's suffrage, or racial segregation for instance. No stance other than Total Abolition is considered reasonable by them.


Are you saying those moderates should consider some slavery/some women having no rights/some racial segregation being allowable to be true moderates? Or are you saying that that a moderate's position is untenable if they hold any absolutist views?

If this post was useful, interesting or entertaining, then you've misunderstood. 1N6rmaDiPf8ke3mx8217NykAMDZXkX713x
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November 12, 2011, 11:03:02 AM
 #47

Your father didn't make a will but before he died he promised the land to you.  He also promised it to your sister.  

Again there's no ethical dilemma in your example. That's just a problem for the heirs to solve.

An ethical compromise would be something on the lines of "I agree it's wrong to steal, but in this(these) case(s) it's not".

You are correct.  Let's try a better example.

In Ireland we have a period of 30 years we called the Troubles.  Terrorists killed unarmed people almost at will based on guessing their religion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankill_Butchers

That gives you a flavour of what it was like.  People pulled off the street, their teeth pulled out with pliers and then beaten to death.

In 1997 a deal was done that the terrorists would stop killing people and that the terrorists in jail would be released.  In effect, an amnesty for kidnappers, torturers and murderers.  Most Irish people hate the deal but voted for it anyway as it was preferable to continued violence.   As a result, the killings went from 150 a year to none.  In a small province of 1.5 million people, there are thousands alive today that would be dead were it not for that deal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement

I think you will agree that was a moral compromise.   Do you think we were wrong to accept that compromise?


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November 12, 2011, 10:23:36 PM
 #48

What of a situation where someone needs to steal to feed someone starving to death? Or steals medication to prevent imminent death? (e.g. anaphylactic shock)

In both cases, the thief is destitute and has no means to pay.

Nothing changes. Stealing is wrong. The ends do not justify the means. Of course, the victim may always forgive the thief - in which case there's no more a theft, but a donation. But if not forgiven, the thief must pay back his victim.

(By the way, in both situations he could just ask. In most contemporaneous societies he wouldn't have a hard time finding someone willing to help. And if he lives in a society where such help just can't be found, then it's clear he's not the only one going through very hard times.)
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November 12, 2011, 10:34:49 PM
 #49

...

I think you will agree that was a moral compromise.   Do you think we were wrong to accept that compromise?

I'd say it's more an act of partial surrender than of ethical compromise. You are not abandoning your principles when you surrender to an aggressor that's stronger than you. It is comparable - in a much less dramatic degree, of course - to what honest people do every time they fill their tax forms or give their wallets to an armed thug who threatens them.

(It's a horrible story you tell there... such deal, did it really work out? I mean... the terrorists released, they just... stopped being terrorists? I imagine every step they took after that was closely watched, but still)
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November 12, 2011, 10:56:33 PM
 #50

...

I think you will agree that was a moral compromise.   Do you think we were wrong to accept that compromise?

I'd say it's more an act of partial surrender than of ethical compromise. You are not abandoning your principles when you surrender to an aggressor that's stronger than you. It is comparable - in a much less dramatic degree, of course - to what honest people do every time they fill their tax forms or give their wallets to an armed thug who threatens them.

(It's a horrible story you tell there... such deal, did it really work out? I mean... the terrorists released, they just... stopped being terrorists? I imagine every step they took after that was closely watched, but still)

Yes it worked.  Both sides gave up their principles and both sides by and large stopped terrorism.  Sectarian violence will never stop but the paramilitary campaigns have been history for 15 years.

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November 12, 2011, 11:04:39 PM
 #51

If there wasn't organized oppression, there wouldn't be organized resistance and what we call terrorism wouldn't exist.
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November 13, 2011, 09:15:38 AM
 #52

If there wasn't organized oppression, there wouldn't be organized resistance and what we call terrorism wouldn't exist.

You are kidding yourself.  No-one oppressed the Shankill Butchers - they simply wanted more power for their version of Christianity. 

Bad people exist - you are deluding yourself if you think that some change in the law will remove that fact that there are people who like to organise for their religion or tribe and kill people from another religion or tribe.  Its hard-wired into our human nature and every legal system has to deal with it.

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November 13, 2011, 03:03:24 PM
 #53

...

I think you will agree that was a moral compromise.   Do you think we were wrong to accept that compromise?

I'd say it's more an act of partial surrender than of ethical compromise. You are not abandoning your principles when you surrender to an aggressor that's stronger than you. It is comparable - in a much less dramatic degree, of course - to what honest people do every time they fill their tax forms or give their wallets to an armed thug who threatens them.

(It's a horrible story you tell there... such deal, did it really work out? I mean... the terrorists released, they just... stopped being terrorists? I imagine every step they took after that was closely watched, but still)

Yes it worked.  Both sides gave up their principles...

How conveniently you ignore my first paragraph.
You don't give up on your principles when you surrender to someone threatening you.
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November 13, 2011, 03:18:26 PM
 #54

...

I think you will agree that was a moral compromise.   Do you think we were wrong to accept that compromise?

I'd say it's more an act of partial surrender than of ethical compromise. You are not abandoning your principles when you surrender to an aggressor that's stronger than you. It is comparable - in a much less dramatic degree, of course - to what honest people do every time they fill their tax forms or give their wallets to an armed thug who threatens them.

(It's a horrible story you tell there... such deal, did it really work out? I mean... the terrorists released, they just... stopped being terrorists? I imagine every step they took after that was closely watched, but still)

Yes it worked.  Both sides gave up their principles...

How conveniently you ignore my first paragraph.
You don't give up on your principles when you surrender to someone threatening you.

In situations like Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Israel/Palestine or wherever you have these tribal type wars, both sides are aggressors and both sides are victims. Neither side was defeated.  Neither side could be said to have gotten justice.  Both sides abandoned principles that good men died for.


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