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Thread: Being complicit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Only individuals can be complicit.
    "I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people." - Edmund Burke

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Only individuals can be complicit.
    Sure. But, so? How is that at all relevant to this discussion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Only individuals can be complicit.
    Sure. But, so? How is that at all relevant to this discussion?
    This is a discussion of group complicity accusations, and since only individuals can be complicit, all such accusations are deeply flawed. To tell how flawed a given accusation is, we need to consider to what extent it's an accusation against a group as a whole vs. an accusation against some subset. For example:

    "Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz says that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. If that is true, then surely, the Jews were also complicit in the holocaust?"

    That's a false inference. You switched from "Poles" to "the Jews". In English, adding the "the" makes it an accusation against most or all Jews. Saying it without the "the" leaves it ambiguous as to whether he was accusing a few Poles, or a lot of Poles, or most Poles. Couldn't say if definite articles have the same semantic effect in Swedish.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    No, I'm saying that guilt is not a black or white proposition. It's all shades of grey. And above all, impossible to say who is more complicit than anybody else. That's what's so insidious about totalitarianism. It corrupts people. It can make good people do evil things.
    It's impossible to say which group is more complicit than any other group when we're comparing one gross overgeneralization with another gross overgeneralization. It's perfectly straightforward to say which complicit individual is more complicit than any other complicit individual. Would any sane person deny that Quisling was more complicit than Laval? The one collaborated for the sake of personal ambition, the other in an attempt to minimize the harm done to his country.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    This is a discussion of group complicity accusations, and since only individuals can be complicit, all such accusations are deeply flawed. To tell how flawed a given accusation is, we need to consider to what extent it's an accusation against a group as a whole vs. an accusation against some subset. For example:

    "Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz says that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. If that is true, then surely, the Jews were also complicit in the holocaust?"

    That's a false inference. You switched from "Poles" to "the Jews". In English, adding the "the" makes it an accusation against most or all Jews. Saying it without the "the" leaves it ambiguous as to whether he was accusing a few Poles, or a lot of Poles, or most Poles. Couldn't say if definite articles have the same semantic effect in Swedish.
    Even though only individuals can be complicit. We can hold groups of people accountable for the actions of some of it's members. That's how nations work. The British government's job is to keep it's citizens in line. Because it reflects badly on Great Britain when a British person goes and does something horrendous in another country. We tend to separate the things that Great Britain can do something about, with the things they can't do anything about. The things that can't be helped we let slide. But the things that can't be we hold entire nations accountable for. And if it's something we voted into power then all citizens, even those who didn't vote for it, are all held accountable. Which is why the American government has apologised for slavery, or how they treated native Americans back in the day.

    So basically... you're wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    No, I'm saying that guilt is not a black or white proposition. It's all shades of grey. And above all, impossible to say who is more complicit than anybody else. That's what's so insidious about totalitarianism. It corrupts people. It can make good people do evil things.
    It's impossible to say which group is more complicit than any other group when we're comparing one gross overgeneralization with another gross overgeneralization. It's perfectly straightforward to say which complicit individual is more complicit than any other complicit individual. Would any sane person deny that Quisling was more complicit than Laval? The one collaborated for the sake of personal ambition, the other in an attempt to minimize the harm done to his country.
    So? It's still shades of grey. Some darker than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post

    Even though only individuals can be complicit. We can hold groups of people accountable for the actions of some of it's members. That's how nations work. The British government's job is to keep it's citizens in line. Because it reflects badly on Great Britain when a British person goes and does something horrendous in another country. We tend to separate the things that Great Britain can do something about, with the things they can't do anything about. The things that can't be helped we let slide. But the things that can't be we hold entire nations accountable for. And if it's something we voted into power then all citizens, even those who didn't vote for it, are all held accountable. Which is why the American government has apologised for slavery, or how they treated native Americans back in the day.

    So basically... you're wrong.
    So basically, I'm wrong because a brain-damaged subculture that thinks guilt-by-proxy is just peachy is currently in the ascendant and has successfully bullied much of the rest of western culture into acquiescing to its "There's no such thing as an Israeli civilian." approach to moral judgment? Is that your argument in a nutshell? If this were four hundred years ago no doubt you'd be telling me I'm wrong to dispute that the Jews are Christ-killers. Hey, if a brain-damaged subculture deciding to turn justice upside down is enough to make it so, I think there's a different brain-damaged subculture that says you're guilty of Adam eating a forbidden fruit. So basically, you better get down on your knees and start praying to be forgiven for your Original Sin.

    I didn't vote for Trump, so basically, everybody who "holds me accountable" for Trump's misbehavior can take their broken moral sense and shove it up their asses.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post

    Even though only individuals can be complicit. We can hold groups of people accountable for the actions of some of it's members. That's how nations work. The British government's job is to keep it's citizens in line. Because it reflects badly on Great Britain when a British person goes and does something horrendous in another country. We tend to separate the things that Great Britain can do something about, with the things they can't do anything about. The things that can't be helped we let slide. But the things that can't be we hold entire nations accountable for. And if it's something we voted into power then all citizens, even those who didn't vote for it, are all held accountable. Which is why the American government has apologised for slavery, or how they treated native Americans back in the day.

    So basically... you're wrong.
    So basically, I'm wrong because a brain-damaged subculture that thinks guilt-by-proxy is just peachy is currently in the ascendant and has successfully bullied much of the rest of western culture into acquiescing to its "There's no such thing as an Israeli civilian." approach to moral judgment? Is that your argument in a nutshell? If this were four hundred years ago no doubt you'd be telling me I'm wrong to dispute that the Jews are Christ-killers. Hey, if a brain-damaged subculture deciding to turn justice upside down is enough to make it so, I think there's a different brain-damaged subculture that says you're guilty of Adam eating a forbidden fruit. So basically, you better get down on your knees and start praying to be forgiven for your Original Sin.

    I didn't vote for Trump, so basically, everybody who "holds me accountable" for Trump's misbehavior can take their broken moral sense and shove it up their asses.
    Yes, that is exactly how it works. If you are American you are part of the American voting populace that put Trump into power, and therefore should be held accountable for his actions, even if you didn't vote for Trump. It's a shared responsibility. But of course, your part in that shared guilt is very small. I'm willing to bet that most people think Donald Trump is a representative of USA and does see the all Americans and sharing the guilt of whatever idiocies he does. When he does stupid stuff it's embarrassing for all Americans and they should all feel shame about it. Whether they do or don't, is beside the point. I'm just saying what I think most people outside USA think about Trump and Americans. The flip side is Americans feeling pride about stuff that Obama did. If you feel pride about Obama but not shame about Trump, then you are morally inconsistent. Regardless of how you voted.

    I think your individualistic interpretation of guilt is extreme and rarely applicable in the real world. We are always part of one group or another and we act as members of collectives. Humans are extremely social beings and influence each other a lot. Our actions will change depending on what group we find ourselves in, and what social pressures are put on that group. The idea that you would always have the same moral values no matter the social context is delusional. I blame Sartre for this idiotic concept. I wish it would stop. We are all moral relativists. Either we are aware of it or we cling to the fantasy that we aren't.

    Our memories are self serving, and we don't notice how we slide around all over the place as long as we make ourselves the hero (or victim) of our story. The Americans of mature age during WW2 think they played their part in saving Europe from German aggression, while the Germans were victims of Hitlers oppression. The truth is that both of them had about as much or little influence on what their country was up to. Christians might think the Jews colluded in murdering Christ and hold them collectively responsible while the Jews might point out that Jesus is just a fictional character in a story. These are all versions of events to glorify our own side. These stories are not intended to find truth. They are vehicles for creating social cohesion and a shared identity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg
    Yes, that is exactly how it works. If you are American you are part of the American voting populace that put Trump into power, and therefore should be held accountable for his actions, even if you didn't vote for Trump.
    That is absurd.
    Does your sense of right and wrong actually yields the verdict that, say, B20 or for that matter the people who did their best to have Sanders or Clinton elected, are guilty of voting for Trump, or do you come up with this idea as a result of some moral theory? If the latter, which theory? (I would say any theory that yields that result is false, and precisely a way of showing conclusively that it is false is that it has an obviously false implication).

    At any rate, I have the following question: What is the immoral behavior that B20 engaged in, in your view? It surely was not voting for Trump, because he did not do that. So, what was the immoral behavior in question?

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg
    Yes, that is exactly how it works. If you are American you are part of the American voting populace that put Trump into power, and therefore should be held accountable for his actions, even if you didn't vote for Trump.
    That is absurd.
    Does your sense of right and wrong actually yields the verdict that, say, B20 or for that matter the people who did their best to have Sanders or Clinton elected, are guilty of voting for Trump, or do you come up with this idea as a result of some moral theory? If the latter, which theory? (I would say any theory that yields that result is false, and precisely a way of showing conclusively that it is false is that it has an obviously false implication).

    At any rate, I have the following question: What is the immoral behavior that B20 engaged in, in your view? It surely was not voting for Trump, because he did not do that. So, what was the immoral behavior in question?
    I don't know what "B20" refers to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg
    Yes, that is exactly how it works. If you are American you are part of the American voting populace that put Trump into power, and therefore should be held accountable for his actions, even if you didn't vote for Trump.
    That is absurd.
    Does your sense of right and wrong actually yields the verdict that, say, B20 or for that matter the people who did their best to have Sanders or Clinton elected, are guilty of voting for Trump, or do you come up with this idea as a result of some moral theory? If the latter, which theory? (I would say any theory that yields that result is false, and precisely a way of showing conclusively that it is false is that it has an obviously false implication).

    At any rate, I have the following question: What is the immoral behavior that B20 engaged in, in your view? It surely was not voting for Trump, because he did not do that. So, what was the immoral behavior in question?
    I don't know what "B20" refers to?
    It means "Bomb#20". He is one of the people that you are accusing of immoral behavior for the election of Trump. I am asking what you accuse him of, specifically. He did not vote for Trump. He voted for another candidate. He did not argue in favor of Trump. He criticized Trump, repeatedly. Since you are saying that he "should be held accountable for his actions", I am asking you what immoral behavior Bomb#20 - not Trump, but Bomb#20 - engaged in. In other words, what moral obligation did he have, that he failed to respect?

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post

    That's just basic human psychology. If you feel threatened you will do what you can to stay alive. Everybody under a totalitarian government feels threatened all the time. That's how they operate psychologically. All the concentration camp capos in the Jewish baracks were Jewish and they effectively ran the camps. The famous "love commando" where Jews were forced to work in concentration camp brothels was only open to Jews. The people who used these prostitutes were all other Jews. They got rewarded with the prostitutes for collaboration.

    I don't see much of a difference. It doesn't really matter that the Poles were also antisemitic. That doesn't make them complicit any more than the Polish Jews IMHO. Giving a shit about anything other than yourself under the Nazis was a rare luxury.
    This response doesn't make sense, but you seem to be saying Polish Jews share guilt with non-Jewish Poles, because some Jews in concentration camps had access to Jewish prostitutes.
    No, I'm saying that guilt is not a black or white proposition. It's all shades of grey. And above all, impossible to say who is more complicit than anybody else. That's what's so insidious about totalitarianism. It corrupts people. It can make good people do evil things.
    No. It is possible to say who is more complicit than others.

    The statement that such a thing is impossible can quickly be shown to be absurd by pointing out that Adolf Hitler was more complicit in the deaths of Jews in Poland, than I am.

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