Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can You Feel the Hate?

I guess I should have expected to receive the kinds of comments I saw on my blog (and other blogs) regarding my post yesterday on Ultimate Bet (and my thoughts on those who choose to play there).

Most of the comments can be summed up in one of two ways:

1. How dare you question any one else's moral compass? You're a douche for even having the opinion that playing there is bad.

2. How dare you invoke Iraq into your discussion? You're a douche for insulting the morals of any former military members who served in Iraq and now choose to play at Ultimate Bet?

I'll answer the latter first. As I wrote yesterday, "Like, it may be okay to lie to the UN Security Council to justify an invasion of a dictator you don't like, because while you don't have kids in the armed forces, the ends justify the means, but it's not okay for your employer to lie to you about the corporate health of your employer, because YOUR 401k is at stake, so their ends don't justify the means."

I fail to see how any of that is an insult to any member of the military, whether or not they served in Iraq.

But maybe I needed to simplify that statement. Are you someone who felt Saddam Hussein was enough of a bad man that the U.S. government was right to lie to the Security Council in order to get them to support your planned invasion? Yes? So that means you think it is okay to lie sometimes, if the end justifies means you support. Do you also feel it was perfectly okay for companies such as Enron, perhaps Lehman Brothers, or others to lie and fudge numbers to enrich the senior management while lying to their employees about the "real" value of their stock options and retirement plans? If yes, then carry on. If the answer is no, then that means you're okay with people lying sometimes, in order to achieve some ends, but not others. What if you are/were an employee of a company that decieved its lower and middle level employees in order to enrich the very top levels? Does that change your opinion at all?

Irrespective of the merits of that discussion, anyone who reads into that an insult on individual members of the United States military simply doesn't read that well, sorry.

Now, as to the former point, let me play devil's advocate and throw a few hypotheticals out there, for a general theoretical discussion of personal morals and ethics. Hopefully, those who wrote expressing the view that I'm wrong for even holding an opinion that playing at UB requires some moral equivalency will respond.

a. What is your opinion on kidnapping women, taking them to another continent and forcing them into prostitution?

b. What is your opinion on pedophilia?

c. What is your opinion on making women wear burqas and not allowing them to get an education?

d. What is your opinion on selling crack across the street from elementary schools?

My suspicion is that most people would think all three of the above are very wrong, but why is that so? There are probably those who think one (or more) of those activities are fine and dandy, but why is that so? In the other alternative, some people may have no opinion at all on the propriety of any of those activities being right or wrong, but why is that so?

So now, let's assume for purpose of discussion that you're married with a teenage daughter, two younger sons, and a wife who's going to night grad school to get an MBA and enter management.

Your daughter gets kidnapped and taken to Russia to become a forced working girl.

One of your sons gets raped several times by a NAMBLA member.

The other one is smoking crack rocks at the age of 9.

Your wife gets kicked out of school and is forced to quit her job, because the Taliban just took over and made all women quit their schools and jobs.

Are you okay with any of those, because you think it's wrong of you to question anyone's opinions that it's fine to sell crack to elementary school kids, or have sex with young boys, or basic equal treatment to women, or force underaged teens into sex careers, or are you going to do something about it?

My point is that whether you think something is right or wrong, it is impossible to do so without basing your decision on your own moral compass. Saying something is wrong because it's illegal is a copout, because if something is illegal, it is so because some legislative body (or a court) determined it was illegal for reasons that at some point have something to do with its moral compass.

But if you think it's inherently bullshit to have an opinion on the morality of any activity, then by definition, how can you have the opinion that any of those other activities are wrong, and how can you get upset that those things have been inflicted upon your family?

To answer one commenter, yes, "morality [is] an individual issue and choice", but when you say nobody should "judge them for having different beliefs or morals", you're acting like a hypocrit for judging those of us who have different opinions. But that's okay -- as I said yesterday (in the one point that just about everyone seemed to gloss over or ignore), "reasonable minds can differ". Hell, I wore a uniform for years and years to support your right to have a different opinion.

In fact, how can a person have an opinion about anything whatsoever? All opinions are informed to varying degrees by the life experiences, education, and yes, the particular personal ethics or moral compass of the person holding that opinion. Just my .02.

Anyway, I'm not trying to stir up anything but discussion here, but I felt the nature of, and vitriol contained in, some of the comments I received merited further exploration.


Francis Luong (Franco) said...

If a person thinks that one should never judge or question another person's actions/morals/whatever, by what moral standard does that person judge you and question yours? Clearly not his own, which his action has just violated.

Instant Tragedy said...


So I think you make a bunch of good points in this blog entry.


But I think that there are people who aren't going to understand, 9-11 , becasue they are so deluded and angry at...


... people that are better or worse at cards. We should all


just get along and relax because


if we don't we will all be hurt again.

- Rudy Guliani