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In response to New Improved Lottery
Comment author: Guanyin 17 December 2017 06:58:55PM 0 points [-]

Or you could just fantasize about finding a billion dollars on the ground. After all, it could happen, so there's an epsilon chance of it happening without doing anything.

Comment author: Nominull 16 April 2011 01:59:51AM 55 points [-]

I think you are too quick to discard the Machiavellian ploy hypothesis. In particular, I think the term "Machiavellian" is misleading you. You (rightly) find a vast conspiracy of offense-pretending Muslims to be ridiculous. But the best way to run a conspiracy is not to run it, and the best way to pretend to something is not to pretend.

Have you stopped to ask why group X might find behavior Y of group Z offensive? I'm not doubting their pain, I'm not suggesting that group X cynically decides to find Y offensive, I'm just asking, how does offense arise in the first place? Why are human beings such that they take offense to things?

My view - taking offense begins as a response to a norm violation. "Not cool, dude," we say, because the dude has done something outside of what the group is prepared to accept. We feel uncomfortable when others violate norms, because if we just sit by and do nothing, we may be accused of being in on the norm violation.

But sometimes people take offense to things which are not norm violations. The general US norm is not that drawing the prophet Muhammed is forbidden, it's not that violent videogames are a sin, it's not that the casual treatment of women as nothing but sex objects is unacceptable. Yet people take offense to these things anyway! What is going on?

Here I am going to repeat again that I do not think that Muslims, game-pacifists, or feminists are consciously conspiring. I think, rather, that it is natural to take offense not only at things which are actual norm-violations, but also things which you wish were norm violations, things which would boost your status if they were norm violations. There is no conscious consideration of this, but somewhere deep in our hypocrite brains, we decide to pretend that our desired norms are the actual norms.

And the math gets even better for taking offense when you consider the meaning of being labeled offensive! "It was morally wrong to say this, and you are either inexcusably ignorant of this fact or deliberately malicious. You must immediately apologize, and it is up to the group you have offended to decide whether they accept your apology or whether they want to punish you in some well-deserved way," you say, and I think you have the right of it. This is a powerful weapon to use against your enemies, and a powerful threat to use to keep people from becoming your enemies in the first place. You think your brain isn't going to seize on it whenever possible?

Now, I know you are arguing from a harm minimization standpoint, you might say, "it is not these people's fault that their brains see an opportunity to score points by being offended and cause them pain". And that's true. The vast majority of people who take offense are, I'm sure, not doing it in a conscious, cynical manner. And by freely and gleefully offending them, we are doing them undeserved harm. It sucks to be them, and I say that in a spirit of sympathy. However, if we give in to offense, if we explicitly act to avoid giving offense rather than acting to right object-level wrongs, then we risk emboldening the true villains, the hypocrite brains who are torturing people to score cheap political points. Better to put our feet down now, because if being offended is a useful strategy, people will go on being offended, even if they don't want to.

Comment author: Guanyin 24 October 2015 08:51:57AM 0 points [-]

You could just say, "Okay, I won't draw Muhammed anymore. It was my mistake, but you didn't need to be so outraged; you only needed to ask and I would have agreed." In other words, you're politely rejecting that you're a bad person because you violated the norm (that wasn't really a norm), but still avoiding a fight.