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« Would Someone Take Care of This? | Main | Name that entrance »

Sunday, February 18, 2007

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Daniel

Agreed. I expect the Democrats to live up to their promises and will not be pleased if they act like kinder, gentler DeLay/Gingrich Republicans. I was willing to put up with some muscle in that initial push, but if they're continuing in the style, then we need to send them a message. Stop it. The opposite of push-over wimp is not bully.

My Congressman is a Democrat (Jim Clyburn). I'm going to write him an e-mail and reference this post.

Tim

Gee, the Democrats after the Republican majority are just like the Democrats before the Republican majority.

In fact, they have the same names, faces and legal troubles.

Wow, who'da thought?

I just can't wait for Xarker Manifesto 2.0.

ben

No, Tim, I’m not under an obligation to turn a conversation about TV and class in America into another debate about Iraq. I don’t owe you that, at least on this post.

I simply do not have the energy to go line for line, and you’ll probably take that for victory, which is fine.

For me, the interesting part of this post was that a television show was presenting an analogy of the results of structural inequality in real-life society. The question that was raised involved ethical responses to structural unfairness. You seemed to grant the existence of structural unfairness in both the game and in real life American society. That said, the most disingenuous parts of your reply:

- Do[es the rich team] have an ethical obligation other than winning?

Absolutely. Otherwise, they can justifiably steal from the poor team. Stealing from the poor team would increase their ability to win.

- May the[ rich team] benefit from an unethical situation, do nothing to alleviate it, and yet consider themselves to have acted ethically - or to have “deserved” their victory?

No. That's why Survivor is a stupid game show, stupid television, and leads otherwise intelligent people to irrationally want to steal and lead others to steal. Members of the rich team may believe they deserve their victory, but they are not ethical people for doing so.
---

The whole point is that the rich team apparently does not need to steal to win - the game is effectively rigged. That’s what made this a potential ethical dilemma in the first place.

If the rich team faces no rational inducement to stealing (and I think you’re wrong that the poor teams’ thieves act irrationally - I’ll agree “morally” is at least questionable) then the *burden* of acting morally and maintaining an ethical game framework falls effectively, and almost exclusively, on the poor team.

Do the demands of fairness impose no corresponding burden on the rich team? Conceivably, they could share their undeserved wealth, then go head to head with a level playing field and allow the most meritorious, the hardest working, to win.

Yes, this is extremely ridiculous within the realm of Survivor. But so was bringing up civil disobedience as a possibility for the poor team, so we’re already there. In any case, this was framed as an analogy for real life, and you’ve treated the stealing decision as if it occurred in real life, not in some altered moral framework of the game.

Fine then: Apply that to the rich team. (And, as to your “lose what?” question, I think its fair that the analogy is between winning and advancement in life).

Also, you mention hitting “close to home,” but do not respond to the fact I support measures other than stealing (I mention admissions policies) to reduce inequality of opportunity. I certainly did not say *stealing* was the only way to address structural inequality. As someone effectively in the position of the rich team, I support other options. The Survivor "rich team" does not, which creates a "society" in which the stealing question becomes pertinent.

I support other government policies to create equality of opportunity. Do you? Or do you accept social unfairness as a pure given, *entirely* beyond human amelioration. Would you protect property rights while telling the real-life “poor team” that their only problem is laziness?

Do you believe structural unfairness should be addressed, or can I assume that you don’t care - that’s why the issue doesn’t hit “close to home” for you? You level accusations of hypocrisy. Have you avoided the risk of hypocrisy by avoiding a meaningful commitment to fairness?

Tim

- No, Tim, I’m not under an obligation to turn a conversation about TV and class in America into another debate about Iraq. I don’t owe you that, at least on this post.

Well, since this is the wrong post ....

- I simply do not have the energy to go line for line, and you’ll probably take that for victory, which is fine.

You're correct, Ben, I do. The next time you decide to write a long, rambling comment asking me dozens of questions ... consider beforehand that you'll run out of energy when it comes your turn to think. Strike one.

- You seemed to grant the existence of structural unfairness in both the game and in real life American society.

I do. I see unfairness everywhere. In fact, I'm sure I've seen more of it in the world then you have.

- That’s what made this a potential ethical dilemma in the first place.

It's not an ethical dilemma, Ben. Calling any part of my reply to your questions "disingenuous" is beneath you. It's petty. Strike two.

- Do the demands of fairness impose no corresponding burden on the rich team?

Asked and answered in my reply to you. Go back and read it again if you still have the energy.

- Have you avoided the risk of hypocrisy by avoiding a meaningful commitment to fairness?

Careful, Ben. Making false implications about what I do or don't support in lieu of stealing makes you look even smaller. Even more petty. Strike three.

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