30 March, 2016

categorically imperative | Fredrik deBoer

categorically imperative | Fredrik deBoer:

The basis of morality is discrimination — the ability to assess the evidence of a particular claim to offense or harm, apply your best moral reasoning, and arrive at a personal judgment about the truth or falsehood of the claim. There is no way for either an individual or a society to proceed with the work of life if they are not empowered to say to some “this claim of harm is legitimate and we must act accordingly” and to others “this claim of harm is not legitimate and we will not undertake the action you demand.” In a democracy, it’s politically suicidal to ask people to set aside their right to sort different claims of offense and call some true and some untrue. It is simply too far from most people’s prior beliefs about what adult life is and means. Treating all claims of harm as legitimate makes police and justice reform impossible, as it naturally provokes more and more engagement by the judicial system. And it leaves you vulnerable to the worst kind of cheats, opportunists, liars, and frauds possible.
This is the crux of it: a political movement that insists that people abandon moral discrimination about harm and offense cannot win and will not survive.

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