16 votes

Can a good person support President Trump?

49 comments

  1. [31]
    post_below
    Link
    As the author mentions at the end, an ignorant person can support Trump and still be a good person. I think that's where the possibilities run out. Anyone who understands who he is and what he's...

    As the author mentions at the end, an ignorant person can support Trump and still be a good person. I think that's where the possibilities run out.

    Anyone who understands who he is and what he's done and still supports him is playing out some kind of inner pathology. Whether or not that makes them a bad person is subjective, but it definitely makes them damaging to themselves and society.

    Good or bad isn't really a useful label, it's not something everyone can agree on. The question should instead be whether or not, objectively, supporting Trump is good for the country and the world based on measurable factors like economics, the wealth gap, foreign relations, human rights, etc.. By those metrics the only people Trump is good for are the extremely wealthy (and then only very short term) and ideological enemies of the US.

    20 votes
    1. [30]
      grungegun
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I believe it is possible to be a reasonable Trump supporter. My mom has voted for Trump, with reasonable knowledge. She also worries about climate change, racial injustice, educational inequality,...

      I believe it is possible to be a reasonable Trump supporter.

      My mom has voted for Trump, with reasonable knowledge. She also worries about climate change, racial injustice, educational inequality, and more. She also goes out and helps people, makes sure to have something ready for homeless people if she sees them, takes depression seriously and listens to people who have chronic depression and suicidal thoughts. In other words, she is (in my opinion) exemplary.

      She is aware of what Trump has done, but has voted for him on the grounds that pro-life Supreme Court justices will be put in under his presidency, which will not happen under a democratic president. She is a single issue voter. Notably my dad is not, and refuses to vote for Trump.

      Laying aside the question over pro-life vs pro-choice, I think it is important to accept that being pro-life is reasonable. In her mind, since she accepts that as true, it becomes apparent that 10's of millions of people have been killed in a holocaust with general support from the population. Of course you could say that being pro-life makes you a damaging person, but I'll only argue that if I have to.

      Joe Biden says he supports people's right to this. Trump has (I know he's not sincere on this, but policy-wise this is true) opposed it. Trump's plans have not killed 10's of millions of people, they have killed 100's of thousands and have damaged millions of other lives.

      There are two common arguments that I see in followup. The first is: but she's not supporting free childcare. No, but generally we save someone, then help them. She's in favor of it. In talking about the Uyghurs, very few people have said that China should continue committing genocide while they lift their lower classes up, it's a matter of priority.

      Another criticism could be along the lines of scale. Abortion has gone down, etc. This is, in addition to being a matter of scale, a matter of principle. For instance, suppose we have two presidents, one who has generally bad policies, and the other has generally good policies. The one who has generaly good policies happens t support murdering gay black men. The other one does not. I would vote for the president against the murder of gay black men, even if he was a filthy, worthless individual who only did it to get the vote of the contingent of the population who thought the murder of gay black men was heinous. Why? Because the law of the land should not allow that.

      caveat:
      Many people vote for Trump for very poor reasons. This is not to condone that. Also, my mom would on principle object to being called a good person.

      15 votes
      1. [22]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        No offense to you, your mom, or anyone else who believes that abortion is equivalent to murder, but IMO that falls under the category of ignorance that @post_below already mentioned, since it...

        No offense to you, your mom, or anyone else who believes that abortion is equivalent to murder, but IMO that falls under the category of ignorance that @post_below already mentioned, since it relies on the false pretense that destroying fertilized human reproductive cells is the same as murdering a human being, which there is no evidence to support is truly comparable.

        The cerebral cortex doesn't even start developing until about 6 months after gestation, and so far as we have been able to detect, what we would be able to definitively classify as cognition doesn't even appear to start occurring until shortly after birth occurs. So it's probably only somewhere between those two points where you could start successfully arguing that abortion = murder, but not before... as otherwise you're opening a serious can of worms, since now the argument is about it snuffing out the potential for a life (which male masturbation and menstruation could both be considered doing), and/or arguments relying on unprovables like the "soul", rather than anything evidence based.

        That said, I do 100% agree that just because someone voted for Trump does not necessarily mean they are "evil" or "bad"... and it's pretty clear that despite voting for him, your mom was/is simply trying her best to be a "good" person and do the right thing.

        21 votes
        1. [14]
          aphoenix
          Link Parent
          While what you've talked about is true - I think scientifically it is provable that abortions are not murder - there's another argument to be made that doesn't rely on the definition of life....

          While what you've talked about is true - I think scientifically it is provable that abortions are not murder - there's another argument to be made that doesn't rely on the definition of life.

          Let's assume for a moment that an abortion is actually a procedure that ends a viable life. If this were true, I would still argue that an abortion should still be legal. People have the right to bodily autonomy and one should not be coerced into undergoing any procedure under force that one does not want to undergo for the benefit of another person.

          If your kidneys are a match for another person, the state Cannot be able to coerce you into donating a kidney. If your bone marrow is a match for someone who needs it, the state cannot coerce y6ou into donating your marrow. If you die and are not a registered organ donor, you cannot be forced - even though you are dead - to donate your body to save the life of another.

          Disallowing abortions gives women less freedom than a corpse.

          18 votes
          1. [7]
            bloup
            Link Parent
            I wish pro-life people supported things that would make it so almost nobody would ever need an abortion in the first place, like free access to contraception. I wish they’d also want to fund...

            I wish pro-life people supported things that would make it so almost nobody would ever need an abortion in the first place, like free access to contraception. I wish they’d also want to fund research into some kind of artificial womb technology. Then maybe I could take them more seriously.

            8 votes
            1. [5]
              Greg
              Link Parent
              I think this point is underemphasized in the debate. If a person really believes abortion to be murder (and I accept that some people truly do feel that way), they have a moral imperative to...

              I think this point is underemphasized in the debate. If a person really believes abortion to be murder (and I accept that some people truly do feel that way), they have a moral imperative to support measures proven to reduce abortion.

              To class themselves as a single issue voter, they presumably consider themselves informed on that issue. By any reasonable moral standard I can think of, that means that (taking their beliefs up to this point to be in earnest), they have an outright obligation to support free contraception and comprehensive sex education. If they don't meet that minimum standard, I don't see how their beliefs can be taken seriously.

              7 votes
              1. [4]
                Akir
                Link Parent
                Out of curiosity, what do you think of devout catholics, who believe that contraception is evil?

                Out of curiosity, what do you think of devout catholics, who believe that contraception is evil?

                1. CALICO
                  Link Parent
                  If these devout Catholics are aware that contraception lowers the instances of abortion, and are unwilling to either leave the matter be, or they discourage their use entirely, then I think they...

                  If these devout Catholics are aware that contraception lowers the instances of abortion, and are unwilling to either leave the matter be, or they discourage their use entirely, then I think they are immoral.

                  I am not Catholic, nor was I raised such, but for the sake of this post let's say that I am. So, abortion is murder & contraception is evil. For the sake of this post, I will never get an abortion (or promote one for my partner), and I will never use a contraceptive (or promote their use to my partner). So from the start of things, I am committing no sin. I keep to myself and my relationship, the world does as the world does.

                  I haven't committed an evil action (a specific sin), but it's possible that my inaction has evil consequences (the abortions that occur). So I feel a moral compulsion to act.

                  Or perhaps my interpretation of John 19:11 vis-à-vis the culpability of Pontius Pilate vice Judas Iscariot, has given me an understanding of a passive sin, in which case I still feel compelled to act.

                  By the accessibility of collective human knowledge through the internet, my research uncovers Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019, which found:

                  "...where abortion was restricted, the proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion had increased compared with the proportion for 1990–94, and the unintended pregnancy rates were higher than in countries where abortion was broadly legal."

                  , and Relationships Between Contraception and Abortion: A Review of the Evidence, which found:

                  "Rising contraceptive use results in reduced abortion incidence in settings where fertility itself is constant."

                  From this, I come to understand that a world with fewer abortions is a world where it's legal, and contraceptives are used. Making abortion illegal doesn't mean there's less of it. And abortions are further avoided through the evil of contraceptives. Now I find myself in conflict. There are two evils: the murders of unborn children, and contraception—a means to allow for the ease of marital infidelity & promote the temptations of promiscuity. My moral compulsion to reduce the evils in the world is forcing me to make a choice of one evil over another.

                  From James 2:10-11, I know that one way or the other, there is offense done and God's Law is violated.
                  But from passages such as: John 19:11, Matthew 23:23-24, Matthew 22:34-40, Matthew 12:1-8, and others, I can understand that there are degrees of sin. Any sin will make a sinner, but some sins are worse than others. (Actually since Catholicism has the concepts of mortal sins & venial sins, perhaps the scriptural citations are unnecessary) As well, my understanding of moral dilemmas from Gregory the Great's Moralia & Gratian's Decretum Gratiani encourage me to utilize the Principle of Lesser Evil.

                  Thus, it is a lesser evil to regulate the existing state of affairs by promoting the use of contraceptives than to discourage their usage and increase the rate of abortion.


                  Although while Gratian proposed the minimization of wrongdoing when aforementioned wrongdoing is unavoidable, he limited the applicability to those personally in a moral dilemma. He made the argument that it was not permitted to commit a lesser evil to prevent a greater evil being committed by another person. In which case, don't try to influence the actions of other people.

                  Either promote courses of action which minimize harm, or take no action; just don't commit the evils yourself.

                  Going out of your way to take the action which causes more harm, when there is an alternative of lesser harm, is immoral.

                  7 votes
                2. Greg
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  In this specific case, I would point out to them that the preservation of life (by their definition, not my own) is of greater importance than the morality of contraception. I find the Catholic...

                  In this specific case, I would point out to them that the preservation of life (by their definition, not my own) is of greater importance than the morality of contraception.

                  I find the Catholic stance against condom use to be absolutely abhorrent, particularly when it comes to the harm they've done to AIDS prevention campaigns, but even there the Pope has begrudgingly suggested that protecting life is the lesser of two evils.

                  More generally, I find it difficult to engage with moral points that rest solely on a given interpretation of a given text. Some issues lend themselves to debate even outside the context of religious views, although the religion may command the followers to take a specific side. In the case of contraception, there's no question to be asked or debate to be had at all without the belief. How does one even approach that in a constructive way?

                  3 votes
                3. tindall
                  Link Parent
                  The two beliefs are incompatible. Of course that doesn't prevent people from holding both, but fundamentally, if you believe that abortion is murder, it's not sensible to oppose any measure that...

                  The two beliefs are incompatible. Of course that doesn't prevent people from holding both, but fundamentally, if you believe that abortion is murder, it's not sensible to oppose any measure that would reduce the number of abortions that happen. Similarly, if the preservation of life at all costs is really the issue, it's not sensible to oppose measures that would reduce car deaths (like public transit), cancer deaths (like stem cell research), or war deaths. And yet, many "single issue" Catholics pick and choose their issues to avoid supporting things that would save many more lives per year than banning abortion.

                  2 votes
            2. Omnicrola
              Link Parent
              People like that do exist, though they're usually not the ones yelling and screaming. Here's a recent example:...

              People like that do exist, though they're usually not the ones yelling and screaming.

              Here's a recent example: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/09/29/jeannie-gaffigan-trump-biden-election-abortion-pope-francis

              I am not sure how one thing that harms a life can be weighted more strongly than another, but based on the reaction to Jim’s now-infamous tweetstorm, it is abundantly clear that there is a segment of the Catholic Church that feels that the single issue of abortion, for lack of a better word, trumps every other evil. Somehow a vote against Mr. Trump has become synonymous with not only being a “bad Catholic” but ultimately, being complicit in murder.

              5 votes
          2. grungegun
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            It's true in a sense: corpse's rights vs women's rights. I have a very low opinion of corpse's rights, and am be in favor of mandatory organ donations, though I don't know of any politicians to...

            It's true in a sense: corpse's rights vs women's rights. I have a very low opinion of corpse's rights, and am be in favor of mandatory organ donations, though I don't know of any politicians to vote for who support that view.

            Edit: One of my philosophy instructors brought up a similar case to yours. There's a famous violinist who needs your blood. So, one day they hook you up to him without your consent. If they disconnect you, he dies. It seems obvious that you should be allowed to disconnect. I personally not disconnect. I rarely bring it up as it tends to make everyone I talk to unhappy.

            5 votes
          3. [5]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            While I generally agree with you on all points... there is just a small point of contention. That's not necessarily true everywhere anymore, since some Provinces up here in Canada now have a...

            While I generally agree with you on all points... there is just a small point of contention.

            If you die and are not a registered organ donor, you cannot be forced - even though you are dead - to donate your body to save the life of another.

            That's not necessarily true everywhere anymore, since some Provinces up here in Canada now have a "presumed consent" organ donation policy. And while people can explicitly opt-out, the default position is now that, barring that, your organs can and will be made available for donation upon your death... which is "forcing" it, in a way. And I personally think that's perfectly acceptable, and arguable even the ideal.

            4 votes
            1. [4]
              aphoenix
              Link Parent
              As far as I know, only Nova Scotia has that position, and when I registered for organ donation, it wasn't as easy as it should be (Ontario, for posterity), but that was a long time ago, and maybe...

              As far as I know, only Nova Scotia has that position, and when I registered for organ donation, it wasn't as easy as it should be (Ontario, for posterity), but that was a long time ago, and maybe it's easier now.

              I do agree that organ donation should be the default and you should have to opt out, but it doesn't seem to come up much in politics.

              6 votes
              1. [3]
                cfabbro
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Ah, turns out you're actually correct. My bad. It appears NS is actually the only Province which has successfully passed a presumed consent law so far, although it has been tabled in a few others...

                Ah, turns out you're actually correct. My bad. It appears NS is actually the only Province which has successfully passed a presumed consent law so far, although it has been tabled in a few others Provinces. E.g. Bill 205 in Alberta passed first reading, but then unfortunately recently died due to the prorogue, but the MPP who initially tabled it has vowed to bring it back once parliament resumes.

                Even so, apparently Spain has had presumed consent since 1979, so NS is not alone in the world. But yeah, it's kinda sad that presumed consent isn't focused on much in the public political discourse, similar to how Assisted Dying was ignored for far too long here in Canada before it. :(

                BTW, you can register for organ donation online in Ontario now, and it appears pretty painless. You just need your health card number, health card version code, and DoB. I just checked my status and it took less than a minute to do.

                1 vote
                1. aphoenix
                  Link Parent
                  It's good that it's easier to do now - I also just checked (still registered, hoorah), and it was super easy.

                  It's good that it's easier to do now - I also just checked (still registered, hoorah), and it was super easy.

                  1 vote
        2. [5]
          kfwyre
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          There is a pretty significant internal logic to pro-life people that I believe is valid from within their perpsective. It's easy to argue against externally, and I'm in no way arguing that our...

          There is a pretty significant internal logic to pro-life people that I believe is valid from within their perpsective. It's easy to argue against externally, and I'm in no way arguing that our laws or government should be based within their context, but I get why many take the issue as seriously as they do. I genuinely believe that many of them are acting out of a valid, logical concern that's a result of their religious truths, which are very deeply held for them. I talk about it more at length here, if you're interested.

          9 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yeah, I actually already agree with you on that point... Which is why I try my best not to hold it against any religiously principled pro-lifers. I just personally don't think their beliefs, no...

            Yeah, I actually already agree with you on that point... Which is why I try my best not to hold it against any religiously principled pro-lifers. I just personally don't think their beliefs, no matter how deeply held, should trump (no pun intended) the evidence when it comes to the law, or the rights of others to self-determination and bodily autonomy. And I definitely wish more of them would work on trying to see past that issue to the bigger picture when it comes to voting, as their singular focus is being exploited to cause significant harm to so many other people.

            6 votes
          2. [3]
            NoblePath
            Link Parent
            If the only reason that abortion should be illegal is religious, then its prohibition should be barred by the first amendment as an unacceptable establishment of religion.

            If the only reason that abortion should be illegal is religious, then its prohibition should be barred by the first amendment as an unacceptable establishment of religion.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              DrStone
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              It’s fuzzy. If it was just a matter of “God says abortion is wrong” like “God says alcohol is a sin” then it’s more clearly a religious issue. Here, though, it’s as much a philosophical question...

              It’s fuzzy. If it was just a matter of “God says abortion is wrong” like “God says alcohol is a sin” then it’s more clearly a religious issue. Here, though, it’s as much a philosophical question as a scientific one of when we all define the beginning of life, and thus what could be considered “murder”.

              4 votes
              1. NoblePath
                Link Parent
                I don’t necessarily disagree, but my comment was narrowly directed at kfwyre’s internal logic notion. That said, murder is a much narrower concept than human killing. Even if we were to define the...

                I don’t necessarily disagree, but my comment was narrowly directed at kfwyre’s internal logic notion.

                That said, murder is a much narrower concept than human killing. Even if we were to define the life of a human as beginning Before birth, abortion is not necessarily murder, just like wartime killing of the enemy, capital punishment, and justified usages of deadly force by the police are not murder.

                3 votes
        3. [2]
          grungegun
          Link Parent
          I'm aware of the research. I disagree on the definition of life. I agree with you, and it's hard to say what a good person is exactly. It's one of those you know it when you see it situations.

          I'm aware of the research. I disagree on the definition of life.

          I agree with you, and it's hard to say what a good person is exactly. It's one of those you know it when you see it situations.

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Fair enough. I won't belabor the point... so instead just agree to disagree on that particular issue, I guess. :)

            Fair enough. I won't belabor the point... so instead just agree to disagree on that particular issue, I guess. :)

            1 vote
      2. [3]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        How is it reasonable if one single value can overrule all others?

        How is it reasonable if one single value can overrule all others?

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          grungegun
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          If you knew a person, who was nice, gracious, kind, gave money to the poor, opened doors for people, etc. The only caveat was that every once in a while, this person would catch a child, and pull...

          If you knew a person, who was nice, gracious, kind, gave money to the poor, opened doors for people, etc. The only caveat was that every once in a while, this person would catch a child, and pull its limbs off with winches, cauterize its wounds, then leave it on the street. Would you allow your moral qualms about torture to overrule the other good qualities this person has? I would be in favor of throwing this person into jail, despite all the other things done. My example is about people, not policies, but I think our intuition about people's virtues help us with our intuition about policies.

          Utilitarianism and some varieties of virtue ethics allow that good values can override one bad one. But Kant's categorical imperative (depends on interpretation I know) and other recognized reasonable moral philosophies do allow this to happen.

          Also, one single value is not overruling all others. Trump has not started any death camps to gas people. One single value is overruling many others, but abortion still occurs by the hundreds of thousands. Calling it a single value masks the amount by which that value is contravened. There may be a 100 other values being violated a 500 times =~ 50,000, but that weighs against 1 value being trod on 100,000 times. If it's an important value, like murder, vs say swearing on TV, then the violations of that 1 value receive even more weight.

          9 votes
          1. Akir
            Link Parent
            There is a lot I would like to say but because we're talking about your mother I will abstain. Even so there is just one part that I must address. The actions and policies the Trump administration...

            There is a lot I would like to say but because we're talking about your mother I will abstain. Even so there is just one part that I must address.

            Trump has not started any death camps to gas people.

            The actions and policies the Trump administration have created are directly related to real deaths. I'm sure we already know about the deaths caused by the slow reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic and we are aware of how more people keep dying because of people taking his lead and making public safety procedures a political issue. But did you know that the changes to the assylum program that prevented vulnerable people from entering the country caused the formation of ghettos along the Mexico border. Crime there is rampant and people do get murdered.

            10 votes
      3. thundergolfer
        Link Parent
        Why is it important? You go on to say that your mother is a hard pro-lifer, believing in 'abortion is murder so abortion in USA is a holocaust' arguments, but don't say why we should accept those...

        I think it is important to accept that being pro-life is reasonable

        Why is it important? You go on to say that your mother is a hard pro-lifer, believing in 'abortion is murder so abortion in USA is a holocaust' arguments, but don't say why we should accept those beliefs as reasonable.

        On account of the vast political and economic power Christianity holds in the USA those ideas are taken seriously quite often, but divorced from politics and economics and thinking about good and bad people it's quite obvious that hard pro-lifers are wilfully delusional. The actual quality of the hard pro-life ideas is in the same tier as 'human sacrifices to make it rain more' beliefs, proper religious nonsense.

        8 votes
      4. post_below
        Link Parent
        I'd suggest that being a single issue voter is a pretty extreme form of ignorance if your goal is human wellbeing. No doubt your Mom is a good person.

        I'd suggest that being a single issue voter is a pretty extreme form of ignorance if your goal is human wellbeing. No doubt your Mom is a good person.

        6 votes
      5. [2]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        Is she really aware? Do you think she has a good grasp of the totality of nonsense he has spouted, espoused, fabricated, manipulated, deregulated, and enabled? If you were to call her, could she...

        She is aware of what Trump has done, but has voted for him on the grounds that pro-life Supreme Court justices will be put in under his presidency, which will not happen under a democratic president. She is a single issue voter.

        Is she really aware? Do you think she has a good grasp of the totality of nonsense he has spouted, espoused, fabricated, manipulated, deregulated, and enabled? If you were to call her, could she run down a list? Or did you mean just in a general, hand-wavy kind of way? Because if she is abreast of even just his alleged transgressions and is still a single-issue voter, I would argue that's not reasonable at all.

        But mine is a subjective position too, which is the trouble with this whole premise.

        5 votes
        1. grungegun
          Link Parent
          Fully aware. unhappy. We're not talking about someone who votes on a whim. My parents are rather more principled than I am. They print out policy sheets from local/state/national levels and read...

          Fully aware. unhappy. We're not talking about someone who votes on a whim. My parents are rather more principled than I am. They print out policy sheets from local/state/national levels and read through them, do research on candidates' past, etc.

          Abortion is an important issue, it's hard to communicate just how important it is. I respect her position, though there are many in my family who vote against trump to 'stop the libtards'. It's actually kind of amazing how far to the right people I know are swinging, and I don't really understand it.

          7 votes
  2. [3]
    wedgel
    Link
    This question hits home. My mind automatically says, 'Nope!' But really my parents are more than likely going to vote for him, ugg! My dad has FOX on all day everyday and has for years. He has no...

    This question hits home. My mind automatically says, 'Nope!' But really my parents are more than likely going to vote for him, ugg! My dad has FOX on all day everyday and has for years. He has no idea what is going on, it's frustrating. Liberal is some weird boogeyman even though all of my siblings are liberal atheists. My parents took out a mortgage on a neighbors' house because the neighbor's credit got ruined in a messy divorce. The husband wanted to keep the house he built, so my parents bought it until he could buy it back, which took a few years. They could have easily made a profit but they didn't. They just do weird shit like that. They aren't bad people but the longer they watch that crap they are definitely becoming worse people. It's extremely frustrating.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      post_below
      Link Parent
      I have similar frustrations with a close family member, except it's been mostly a facebook fueled radicalization rather than Fox News. I feel your pain. It would be easier if they didn't insist on...

      I have similar frustrations with a close family member, except it's been mostly a facebook fueled radicalization rather than Fox News.

      I feel your pain. It would be easier if they didn't insist on talking about politics and nutty conspiracy theories more and more frequently.

      7 votes
      1. Grzmot
        Link Parent
        It feels wrong, but as someone who's family also like to jump down the conspiracy rabbit hole, it's the only way to maintain contact with them while staying sane. I've at this point read too many...

        I feel your pain. It would be easier if they didn't insist on talking about politics and nutty conspiracy theories more and more frequently.

        It feels wrong, but as someone who's family also like to jump down the conspiracy rabbit hole, it's the only way to maintain contact with them while staying sane. I've at this point read too many articles about how to converse with conspiracy theorists, but the main problem is that I don't want to spend my entire free time looking up info about whatever they are talking about, be it the economics (a favourite subject) or, since this is 2020, COVID-19 and if the response to the pandemic is justified or not.

        4 votes
  3. viridian
    Link
    I know it's just a blog post, but the lack of logical rigor on display here from a philosophy PhD is surprisingly sloppy. I don't expect a full information theory breakdown of each and every...

    I know it's just a blog post, but the lack of logical rigor on display here from a philosophy PhD is surprisingly sloppy. I don't expect a full information theory breakdown of each and every derivation of possible fact classes from Dr. LaBossiere, but starting with the premise that people have information that ranges from good and accurate enough to perfect is a complete non-starter, and the contrapositive set which likely holds the majority of Trump supporters is only given half a sentence in print.

    Aside from that, I don't think most people actually operate primarily under virtue ethics, aside from the deeply religious, and the Ayn Rand / objectivist folks. Modern societies at large seem to be in practice a mix of deontology and consequentialism, with virtue ethics as sort of an aspirational ideal of people who are usually motivated primarily by the idea of improving themselves.

    8 votes
  4. [8]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I'll try to steelman this one. By numbers I find it hard to believe that 40% of the US people would be non-good. Trump has started no wars. This is more than a trivial improvement over the...

    I'll try to steelman this one.

    1. By numbers I find it hard to believe that 40% of the US people would be non-good.

    2. Trump has started no wars. This is more than a trivial improvement over the previous US presidents. This is not of course totally uncontroversial, because it lets other powers take over.

    3. Unemployment has gone down.

    4. He supported Hong Kong, at least in speech.

    5. He executed a risky military operation in Iran (actually Iraq, but against Iran) that was a success.

    edit

    1. Promoted/protected free speech on college campuses.
    8 votes
    1. [3]
      SuperGracchiBros
      Link Parent
      Even with steelmaning its a pretty weak argument. I find it very easy to believe that 40% of people in the States are some flavour of bigoted or ignorant. Hitler received almost 40% of the popular...

      Even with steelmaning its a pretty weak argument.

      1. I find it very easy to believe that 40% of people in the States are some flavour of bigoted or ignorant. Hitler received almost 40% of the popular vote in relatively free and fair elections in Weimar Germany.

      2. True, and in that way W. Bush is still worse than Trump. However, Trump had multiple times come very close to starting wars, including calling off airstrikes on Iran at literally the last moment, while the planes were preparing for takeoff.

      3. Connected to the above, his risky operation was operationally successful, but it very nearly spiraled the whole region into further conflict. It had a destabilizing effect in Iraq, and was impulsive and illegal.

      If you douse a house with gasoline, light a match, but then extinguish said match, you don't get credit for preventing a house fire.

      1. He's promoted and protected conservative hate speech.
      8 votes
      1. [2]
        vegai
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Sorry, tried my best :/ More like 30%, but yeah, I get what you mean. edit oh wait, that was the first round. Second round was about 37% yeap. They had some efficient PR between those rounds...

        Even with steelmanning its a pretty weak argument.

        Sorry, tried my best :/

        Hitler received almost 40% of the popular vote in relatively free and fair elections in Weimar Germany

        More like 30%, but yeah, I get what you mean. edit oh wait, that was the first round. Second round was about 37% yeap. They had some efficient PR between those rounds apparently.

        Still, I don’t think those 37% were all non-good either. Just misguided.

        However, Trump had multiple times come very close to starting wars, including calling off airstrikes on Iran at literally the last moment, while the planes were preparing for takeoff

        Would be interesting to know how many such close calls earlier, non-blabby presidents had.

        Connected to the above, his risky operation was operationally successful, but it very nearly spiraled the whole region into further conflict. It had a destabilizing effect in Iraq, and was impulsive and illegal.

        I gotta be frank here, I’m genuinely rather impressed by this one. I don’t know if it was more due to luck that it worked so well, but it seems to me that it was a rather perfect military move. Or perhaps the consequences will take a longer time to develop.

        3 votes
        1. SuperGracchiBros
          Link Parent
          Didn't mean it like that, just commenting on how bad the original argument was. You can only polish a turd so much!

          Sorry, tried my best :/

          Didn't mean it like that, just commenting on how bad the original argument was. You can only polish a turd so much!

          4 votes
    2. [2]
      ShroudedMouse
      Link Parent
      I'd love to see the presidential candidates forced to do a steelman debate. Most politicians are so accustomed to attack-mode that, on the rare moments they're expected to display empathy, it...

      I'd love to see the presidential candidates forced to do a steelman debate. Most politicians are so accustomed to attack-mode that, on the rare moments they're expected to display empathy, it rings hollow.

      4 votes
      1. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        I like that idea, that would be incredible to see in a modern political debate. The other day I was also imagining what it might look like if during a 2 person debate every question was presented...

        I like that idea, that would be incredible to see in a modern political debate. The other day I was also imagining what it might look like if during a 2 person debate every question was presented with the following setup:

        There was an unbreakable tie, and now both of you have been elected to the same position with the same authority. Over the next __ minutes, demonstrate how the two of you would work together to achieve a compromise on the topic of _____.

        Because in the end, isn't that what we're actually electing them to do? Be able to represent our views AND can actually work with other legislators?

        4 votes
    3. wedgel
      Link Parent
      Except he tried to start a war with Iran and failed. The second most powerful leader of Iran Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in Iraq on Jan 3rd of this year. If I remember correctly, the US...

      Except he tried to start a war with Iran and failed. The second most powerful leader of Iran Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in Iraq on Jan 3rd of this year. If I remember correctly, the US Government droned his ass after he arrived in Iraq for peace talks. The US used the excuse that he was planning an imminent attack on the US soil, which didn't hold up. And the UN said it violated US and International laws.

      4 votes
    4. thundergolfer
      Link Parent
      On the contrary I'd find it hard to believe that a majority of Americans could be considered good, by some meaningful definition of ethical goodness. Just as 200 years ago a majority of Americans...

      By numbers I find it hard to believe that 40% of the US people would be non-good.

      On the contrary I'd find it hard to believe that a majority of Americans could be considered good, by some meaningful definition of ethical goodness.

      Just as 200 years ago a majority of Americans directly participated in or directly benefitted from chattel slavery, today a majority of Americans benefit from:

      • A massive system of factory farming that subjects 10s of billions of animals to suffering and painful death.
      • A carbon footprint driven by needless consumption that will send hundreds of millions into food insecurity, trigger conflict in mass migrations, and permanently degrade crucial ecosystems.

      That's just a couple of big things.

      It's not really hard to see that large numbers of a population could be be unethical when there was in our recent history, and is right now in 2020, widespread support for obvious moral atrocities.

      4 votes
  5. [6]
    mrbig
    Link
    I believe most people do use virtue ethics to a great degree. Trump made several things that are considered evil even disregarding their consequences. We do that kind of assessment all the time....

    I believe most people do use virtue ethics to a great degree. Trump made several things that are considered evil even disregarding their consequences. We do that kind of assessment all the time.

    This is also a personal blog by a philosopher, which is not the same as philosophical journal. It’s meant to be personal and informal.

    1 vote
    1. [5]
      viridian
      Link Parent
      Hey, I assume you meant to reply to me? That said, I wouldn't make the case that society is overwhelmingly consequentialist, in fact, far from it. I think deontological thought drives the bare...

      Hey, I assume you meant to reply to me?

      That said, I wouldn't make the case that society is overwhelmingly consequentialist, in fact, far from it. I think deontological thought drives the bare majority of people's morals, with a not particularly rigorous bulwark of unrelated consequentialist ideas backing topics they find important, or take a particular interest in.

      People often make the mistake of grouping deontology and virtue ethics in this amorphous category of non-utilitarian ethics, but the two are pretty different. Deontology is a system, usually centered on the categorical imperative or some variant as an operating principle, and doesn't really concern itself with things like whether or not humans have an innate understanding of nobility of character.

      I think you'd have a much harder time finding non-religious modern moral arguments that stem from virtue ethics than you would deontology, even setting aside consequentialist morals completely.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Virtue ethics is not that hard. What makes you think that shooting a baby in the head is wrong? The consequence? The law? The pain? I don’t think so. And you don’t need to be religious for that.

        Virtue ethics is not that hard. What makes you think that shooting a baby in the head is wrong? The consequence? The law? The pain? I don’t think so. And you don’t need to be religious for that.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          viridian
          Link Parent
          Consequences writ large, law, and suffering are all forms of consequentialist argument, which I've already sat aside. edit: unless by law you mean the very concept of the social contract...

          Consequences writ large, law, and suffering are all forms of consequentialist argument, which I've already sat aside.

          edit: unless by law you mean the very concept of the social contract violation, but I don't think many people in the west are legalists either.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            mrbig
            Link Parent
            I believe the author makes a good distinction between virtue and deontological, and a rather important one. The title mentions “good” instead of “lawful” or “correct”, and that’s consistent with...

            I believe the author makes a good distinction between virtue and deontological, and a rather important one.

            The title mentions “good” instead of “lawful” or “correct”, and that’s consistent with the remaining of the article.

            2 votes
            1. viridian
              Link Parent
              Talking about the good typically points towards consequentialism, not virtue ethics, nor deontology. If you were to define each school of ethics in terms of their aims, virtue ethics would be...

              Talking about the good typically points towards consequentialism, not virtue ethics, nor deontology. If you were to define each school of ethics in terms of their aims, virtue ethics would be represented by the virtuous, consequentialism by the good, and deontology by the right. Both deontologists and virtue ethicists take issue with the naked pursuit of the good, but once again, this is an issue with the sloppiness of the author's writing.

              4 votes