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How should public figures atone for past bad acts?

AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
edited February 5 in Debate and/or Discourse
Splitting this discussion off from the Virginia thread, so we should try not to talk about Governor Northam in here.

Instead I’m curious, between many recent political scandals, things like the #MeToo movement, and instances where people’s past misdeeds or awkward incidents are dredged up and exposed to the world, how these public figures should behave in response and how should the public behave in return?

Is it reasonable to say, “Look, this was a long time ago, I was a different person back then, I’ve changed and learned and grown, let me apologize so we can all move on”? Or should we as a society be less forgiving of “youthful indiscretions,” especially when youthful covers into your mid-40s and indiscretions include racist remarks and sexual misconduct?

I personally find myself in the somewhat uncomfortable position of arguing that we need a stronger sense of moral outrage—albeit one based on a secular morality, not a religious one—that true contrition is rare, and those who argue for forgiveness are often seeking a moral permissiveness rather than true forgiveness, which I think requires a kind of moral reckoning of personal inventory that is seldom apparent.

How do we contend with this in a society where your past is always present on some server? How do we contend with this given the partisan double standard?

What do you think?

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    The best way to truly show change is to de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups in seeking and gaining power.

    We want to think of racism as blackface. Blackface is a symptom, and often it’s a safety valve so we can say “don’t do that and you’re fine.”

    Racism is black patients having worse outcomes on average when they go to the doctor, partially because doctors on average believe their reports of symptoms less than they believe it from white people.

    It’s their representation in political power still running at about half of their share of the population, with similar results in management in private fields. And it’s so many more things.

    It’s absolutely reasonable to say “I’m a different person now.” But if you feel like you can’t show you are a different person without being in a position of power and leadership, are you really all that different? Power dynamics are the problem. Being willing to lead the fight for equality is better than fighting against it, but white liberal America is deeply uncomfortable with not being in the lead at all.

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  • MrMisterMrMister A pup must first get in the water to be successful as a seal!Registered User regular
    I tend to disagree with the overall take in the OP. For one thing, I think it's easy to overstate both the centrality and the constancy of people's character. Even a person who is mostly "good" may have a "bad" moment. And even someone who is mostly good or mostly bad in some environment may go on to behave very differently in another environment. The idea that someone's past bad act revealed their genuine character seems to rely on an overly robust notion of what a genuine character is, and the degree to which it evenly controls people's behavior. It may also reflect a fundamental attribution error, where we tend to ascribe other people's bad behaviors to their essences where we excuse our own bad behaviors by explaining the circumstances that led to them.

    (A bit of a tu quoque: a lot of people really love social psych research when it shows... perhaps unreplicatably... that prejudice is widespread and unconscious. But social psych research has similarly shown... perhaps unreplicatably... that the environment has a much more significant effect than cues of individual character when it comes to predicting prosocial and antisocial behaviors. Consider the classic one: tell a priest he's late to deliver a sermon on the good samaritan, and he will literally ignore a person dying by the side of the road. That study, like many in its genre, may have been very shoddy. But if you love social psych in other realms...)

    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited February 4
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    The best way to truly show change is to de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups in seeking and gaining power.

    Can you give a concrete example of how that works?

    Because I'm extremely suspicious of "decenter yourself from power" style arguments and I think the typical result of stepping down from positions of power is that the power vacuum just gets filled by somebody else with fewer qualms than you.

    Examples: Al Franken got replaced by a Democratic woman. Great! On the other hand, Anthony Wiener got replaced by a Republican man. Boo!

    When you step down from a position of power, you rarely have the ability to name your successor. That's true for Congresspeople as well as businesspeople.

    In reality, "de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups" is often "de-center yourself from power or support underprivileged groups." It's rare somebody gets the opportunity to do both.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    edited February 4
    Feral wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    The best way to truly show change is to de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups in seeking and gaining power.

    Can you give a concrete example of how that works?

    Because I'm extremely suspicious of "decenter yourself from power" style arguments and I think the typical result of stepping down from positions of power is that the power vacuum just gets filled by somebody else with fewer qualms than you.

    Examples: Al Franken got replaced by a Democratic woman. Great! On the other hand, Anthony Wiener got replaced by a Republican man. Boo!

    When you step down from a position of power, you rarely have the ability to name your successor. That's true for Congresspeople as well as businesspeople.

    In reality, "de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups" is often "de-center yourself from power or support underprivileged groups." It's rare somebody gets the opportunity to do both.

    Example: Instead of being a politician, work as a political consultant for a non-profit committed to helping minorities get elected.

    Democrats may be better than Republicans for the purposes of minority rights and issues, but that’s a win by default. It’s not a simple D vs. R issue

    Inkstain82 on
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    The best way to truly show change is to de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups in seeking and gaining power.

    Can you give a concrete example of how that works?

    Because I'm extremely suspicious of "decenter yourself from power" style arguments and I think the typical result of stepping down from positions of power is that the power vacuum just gets filled by somebody else with fewer qualms than you.

    Examples: Al Franken got replaced by a Democratic woman. Great! On the other hand, Anthony Wiener got replaced by a Republican man. Boo!

    When you step down from a position of power, you rarely have the ability to name your successor. That's true for Congresspeople as well as businesspeople.

    In reality, "de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups" is often "de-center yourself from power or support underprivileged groups." It's rare somebody gets the opportunity to do both.

    Example: Instead of being a politician, work as a political consultant for a non-profit committed to helping minorities get elected.

    Democrats may be better than Republicans for the purposes of minority rights and issues, but that’s a win by default. It’s not a simple D vs. R issue

    Can you give a real-world example of somebody who has successfully done something like this?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
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  • MrMisterMrMister A pup must first get in the water to be successful as a seal!Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    FeraltinwhiskersRedTideCommunistCowA Kobold's KoboldshrykeNobeardHeirJebus314KamarAridholLord_AsmodeuswanderingFlying CouchAtlas in ChainsElvenshaeMatev38thDoebowenzepherinShadowhopeGnome-InterruptusNitsuajdarksunForarKaputaHacksawoverride367ViskodabotkinHefflingLoserForHireXKristmas Kthulhu
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    Yeah. Who cares if Trump is out there stoking racial animus as long as long as he fills all the ambassadorships and takes a seat at state dinners*

    * - ( yes I’m aware that he hasn’t actually filled ambassadorships as is failing at basically all the small, functionary parts of the job too. Kinda ruins the example.)

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    Yeah. Who cares if Trump is out there stoking racial animus as long as long as he fills all the ambassadorships and takes a seat at state dinners*

    * - ( yes I’m aware that he hasn’t actually filled ambassadorships as is failing at basically all the small, functionary parts of the job too. Kinda ruins the example.)

    The subject of the thread is explicitly atoning for past acts. If the politician in question is currently "stoking racial animus" then that's outside of the scope of the thread.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    MrMisterRchanendiscriderA Kobold's KoboldNobodyshrykeNobeardHeirJebus314KamarLord_AsmodeusElvenshaeSmrtnikjungleroomxMatev38thDoebowenzepherinnever dieShadowhopeMazzyxGnome-InterruptusNitsuajdarksunTofystedethRozForarHacksawabotkinHefflingKristmas KthulhuSolarfurlionvalhalla130King Riptor
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    Yeah. Who cares if Trump is out there stoking racial animus as long as long as he fills all the ambassadorships and takes a seat at state dinners*

    * - ( yes I’m aware that he hasn’t actually filled ambassadorships as is failing at basically all the small, functionary parts of the job too. Kinda ruins the example.)

    The subject of the thread is explicitly atoning for past acts. If the politician in question is currently "stoking racial animus" then that's outside of the scope of the thread.

    That may be the subject of the thread, but the very specific assertion within the thread is that leadership and tone-setting are not important parts of a politician’s job.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    Yeah. Who cares if Trump is out there stoking racial animus as long as long as he fills all the ambassadorships and takes a seat at state dinners*

    * - ( yes I’m aware that he hasn’t actually filled ambassadorships as is failing at basically all the small, functionary parts of the job too. Kinda ruins the example.)

    I don't mean just that they are doing them but how. Signing and implementing laws to combat racism is far more important than being some paragon of racial wokeness.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    None of which addresses why there are so few openly gay leaders relative to their populational proportion.

    Liberal America shouldn’t be about doing just enough to keep the minorities from voting for the other guy, but that is often how it works.

  • JragghenJragghen Registered User regular
    Apologize unreservedly, and take proactive action to help educate others and prevent such incidents from happening again.

    If resigning will result in a positive or neutral result for those you maligned, resign. If it will result in a negative result, don't resign, but also announce you will not be seeking re-election. Only seek election again after a period of time out of a role of importance, at which point the voters, in a primary, will be there ones who determine if they feel you can still represent then.

    Shadowhope
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No the most important part of their job is executing the duties of their office.

    Yeah. Who cares if Trump is out there stoking racial animus as long as long as he fills all the ambassadorships and takes a seat at state dinners*

    * - ( yes I’m aware that he hasn’t actually filled ambassadorships as is failing at basically all the small, functionary parts of the job too. Kinda ruins the example.)

    I don't mean just that they are doing them but how. Signing and implementing laws to combat racism is far more important than being some paragon of racial wokeness.

    That is a very limited view of how society works. There is much more to social change than just writing “don’t be mean to minorities” in a piece of paper and hoping the system enforces it.

  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?



    I think a lot of these discussions revolve around the immediate impact of the applied standard—if so and so resigns, who will replace them? What does this scandal mean for the person at its center and for their career going forward?

    But not nearly as much is about the impact of having a standard at all. That enforcing a social standard now about what today’s politicians did when they were young is also about demonstrating that standard to today’s youth. At the very least an ambitious person in grad school recognizes that their actions may have an impact on their future ability to lead and thinks twice about doing the kind of thing whose revelation is causing problems for their present leaders. If it’s okay to do bad things now and regret them later from that comfortable seat of power, why stop to think that you shouldn’t do them, or why you shouldn’t do them?

    ACsTqqK.jpg
  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?



    I think a lot of these discussions revolve around the immediate impact of the applied standard—if so and so resigns, who will replace them? What does this scandal mean for the person at its center and for their career going forward?

    But not nearly as much is about the impact of having a standard at all. That enforcing a social standard now about what today’s politicians did when they were young is also about demonstrating that standard to today’s youth. At the very least an ambitious person in grad school recognizes that their actions may have an impact on their future ability to lead and thinks twice about doing the kind of thing whose revelation is causing problems for their present leaders. If it’s okay to do bad things now and regret them later from that comfortable seat of power, why stop to think that you shouldn’t do them, or why you shouldn’t do them?

    Of course if there is no path to atonement then there is no point in no longer doing bad things. I mean if you can never make up for what you've done, why not just do what makes you happy, even if it involves making others feel bad. You'll never be let back into society anyway. So fuck em.

    Interesting to see if an inability to atone in the public eye convinces people that there is no point in even trying.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
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  • RedTideRedTide Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?

    Trust in the democratic process

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  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    As I said in the other thread, “if there’s no path to atonement, there’s no incentive to do the right things,” where “atonement” is pretended to be “allowed to do any and every powerful job”, is textbook emotional abuser manipulation. And make no mistake: white America’s relationship with black America is an abusive one.

  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    As I said in the other thread, “if there’s no path to atonement, there’s no incentive to do the right things,” where “atonement” is pretended to be “allowed to do any and every powerful job”, is textbook emotional abuser manipulation. And make no mistake: white America’s relationship with black America is an abusive one.

    The bolded is true. But what does the path to atonement look like with a ceiling on what you can do?

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    I don't really value public apologies beyond the perceived societal consensus that they imply. It might be a convenient way to gauge or affirm that people in general are on the same page about what happened.
    But I don't like apologies in the first place. People always want to apologise to people who want to be left alone, and make a show about everything.

    RchanenMrMisterDelzhand
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    As I said in the other thread, “if there’s no path to atonement, there’s no incentive to do the right things,” where “atonement” is pretended to be “allowed to do any and every powerful job”, is textbook emotional abuser manipulation. And make no mistake: white America’s relationship with black America is an abusive one.

    The bolded is true. But what does the path to atonement look like with a ceiling on what you can do?

    It looks like a just one.

    Northram participated in, and through signaling helped empower, an abusive power dynamic.

    True atonement would include willingly eschewing power.

  • MrMisterMrMister A pup must first get in the water to be successful as a seal!Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    I think the most important part of politicians' jobs is passing legislation and running executive agencies in a way as to materially impact millions of people's lives.

    A random legislator may have bullied a couple gay kids in high school. By passing a nondiscrimination law he might keep thousands of gay people from losing their jobs or housing. Not a tough call, imo.

    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?



    I think a lot of these discussions revolve around the immediate impact of the applied standard—if so and so resigns, who will replace them? What does this scandal mean for the person at its center and for their career going forward?

    But not nearly as much is about the impact of having a standard at all. That enforcing a social standard now about what today’s politicians did when they were young is also about demonstrating that standard to today’s youth. At the very least an ambitious person in grad school recognizes that their actions may have an impact on their future ability to lead and thinks twice about doing the kind of thing whose revelation is causing problems for their present leaders. If it’s okay to do bad things now and regret them later from that comfortable seat of power, why stop to think that you shouldn’t do them, or why you shouldn’t do them?

    I knew kids in college who thought about their lives that way--they were patiently building a resume, and definitely considering how whatever they were presently doing might look in ten years when they were running for a big office. They were like aliens. I don't think most people, especially most younger people, relate to their lives that way.

    I also think that it's easy to overstate the constancy of social concerns of the moment. There were a ~lot~ of things people were doing in 1980 that wouldn't fly now. Who knew, at the time, which would be most incendiary now--of all the dicey things that were going on, which would be the sticking point in 2018? Let alone which they'd get caught for? I think it's a finding in criminology that chance of being caught is generally more significant than magnitude of punishment, when it comes to deterrence. And aside from the fastidious alien type, that would suggest that most people aren't really getting deterred from acting badly on camera one night on the off chance that they are later running for something and it happens to get unearthed.

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  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    As I said in the other thread, “if there’s no path to atonement, there’s no incentive to do the right things,” where “atonement” is pretended to be “allowed to do any and every powerful job”, is textbook emotional abuser manipulation. And make no mistake: white America’s relationship with black America is an abusive one.

    The bolded is true. But what does the path to atonement look like with a ceiling on what you can do?

    It looks like a just one.

    Northram participated in, and through signaling helped empower, an abusive power dynamic.

    True atonement would include willingly eschewing power.

    So do you have an answer? Because that doesn't entirely seem like an answer. It seems like a tautology.

    In other words. Please elaborate further.

    Also per the OP Northram is off-topic.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
    HeirAridhol
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

    I can’t imagine any world in which I would equate Mitt Romney with moral leadership and positive symbolism.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    I don't really value public apologies beyond the perceived societal consensus that they imply. It might be a convenient way to gauge or affirm that people in general are on the same page about what happened.
    But I don't like apologies in the first place. People always want to apologise to people who want to be left alone, and make a show about everything.

    Yeah, basically the bolded.

    The primary purpose of an apology isn't to atone, it's to demonstrate that you understand why what you did was wrong and to show that you value the relationship that was damaged. I think that's true even in private relationships. It's not a replacement for restorative action.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    RedTide wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?

    Trust in the democratic process

    The whole point of the democratic process is that politicians respond to the will of the people; if a politician has a scandal or commits a crime or simply votes in a way that a majority of their constituents disagree with, and those constituents make their disagreements heard, and the politician decides to resign as a result, that is pretty democratic in my view.

    ACsTqqK.jpg
    Rchanen
  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

    I can’t imagine any world in which I would equate Mitt Romney with moral leadership and positive symbolism.

    A good 47% of the voting public can. 60.9 million people. And they believe that they are correct as heartily as you do.

    Some of them may be cynical. But I doubt all of them are.

    Do we choose the lesser evil? That's not always a good path. But I do not know if I can agree with Astaereth and Inkstain82 either.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
    Shadowhope
  • Inkstain82Inkstain82 Registered User regular
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

    I can’t imagine any world in which I would equate Mitt Romney with moral leadership and positive symbolism.

    A good 47% of the voting public can. 60.9 million people. And they believe that they are correct as heartily as you do.

    Some of them may be cynical. But I doubt all of them are.

    Do we choose the lesser evil? That's not always a good path. But I do not know if I can agree with Astaereth and Inkstain82 either.

    I don’t understand the argument here. Moral leadership is less important than legislation because sometimes people vote for bad moral leadership? As if nobody every votes for bad legislation?

  • RchanenRchanen Registered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Rchanen wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    For some public figures, I think it's essentially no one's business what they did in the past. I'm fine with some of them rejecting inquiries. For others, like politicians, *cough cough*, this is less so. For active political figures, ideally they should display appropriate contrition for what they did. Still, I tend to value the concrete over the symbolic. "I'm doing a good job, in this job" seems like it should be a fine enough statement to me.

    Symbolism and moral leadership is a *huge* part of their jobs. Frequently the most important part.

    No its not, and "making" it part of there jobs is a fucking mistake-we keep making. It creates a pile of very intentionally biased value judgments as a barrier to both exclude people and shield ineffective/harmful politics.

    Its why congress is lousy with god-fearing, church going, white, hetero, cis, millionaire family men. Who do little beyond selling out their constituents to businesses/donors.

    Allow me to posit a theoretical election, between idk Mitt Romney(who despite my dislike of, I don't know of him doing anything in the sort of criminal/scandal area) and Bill Clinton(who basically got lucky metoo happened 20 years later than it did, otherwise he would have been impeached with cause).

    I'm not voting for Romney and in no world would I(or 90% of Americans) be better off if he won.

    I can’t imagine any world in which I would equate Mitt Romney with moral leadership and positive symbolism.

    A good 47% of the voting public can. 60.9 million people. And they believe that they are correct as heartily as you do.

    Some of them may be cynical. But I doubt all of them are.

    Do we choose the lesser evil? That's not always a good path. But I do not know if I can agree with Astaereth and Inkstain82 either.

    I don’t understand the argument here. Moral leadership is less important than legislation because sometimes people vote for bad moral leadership? As if nobody every votes for bad legislation?

    My argument is that moral leadership does not exist in a vacuum. And is a very relative term. Mitt Romney was definitely not your moral leadership, but he was somebody's. It's the kind of thing that makes me uncomfortable with the phrase moral leadership. "Whose morality and where are they leading us?" is the first question that springs to my mind.

    I don't think I particularly trust moral people. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

    shryke wrote: »
    The Democrats aren't crazy but they are still, you know, running the US and it's foreign policy. Which is in the "you don't have a global hegemony without bombing a few eggs" wheelhouse.
    AridholAtlas in ChainsGnome-Interruptus
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    RedTide wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    On the other hand we could replace the legislator who once bullied gay kids with a legislator who would pass the same nondiscrimination law AND didn’t bully gay kids in high school. Is there a downside there?

    Trust in the democratic process

    The whole point of the democratic process is that politicians respond to the will of the people; if a politician has a scandal or commits a crime or simply votes in a way that a majority of their constituents disagree with, and those constituents make their disagreements heard, and the politician decides to resign as a result, that is pretty democratic in my view.

    Except determining what the total constituency actually wants is not as clear when it is just based on who protests the loudest or even polling. There is a reason we have formal defined elections.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
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  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    I don't really value public apologies beyond the perceived societal consensus that they imply. It might be a convenient way to gauge or affirm that people in general are on the same page about what happened.
    But I don't like apologies in the first place. People always want to apologise to people who want to be left alone, and make a show about everything.

    Is it really that you dislike apologies, or do you just dislike the fake-ass political apologies that we get 99% of the time? Because it's seriously like 99% of the time we get terrible non-apologies like "I'm sorry people were offended," which shows no remorse or even acknowledgement that what the person did was wrong.

    Maybe that's why my standards are low. All I ask for is an honest admittance of what they did, acknowledge what they did was wrong, and then they can promise to try to do better. They will be judged in the future based on if they actually went through with that, but honestly, we almost never get part 1 or 2 so it's always been a moot point. It's not the crime but the cover up and fake apologies are cover up.

    RchanenFeralHeirdiscriderCalicaElvenshaeDarkPrimusdestroyah87jdarksunkimeForarHacksawoverride367abotkin
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    I've only ever seen sincere public apologies precede genuine martyrdom in high stakes cases. Like, if you truly are penitent, you have to kill that part of yourself that wanted to survive this ordeal. It's a very fundamentalist precept that we've universally absorbed.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    My issue with "atonement" in this kind of context is that what people need to atone for is rapidly (in a political sense) changing and human beings aren't the clean slates we want them to be in the moment.
    I will absolutely take a person who has had some shitty things in their past (as I certainly have) who will enact the laws/things I believe in that can win an election over someone who is pure of heart and deed who can't.

    And, yes, this IS the choice in many cases because your voting populace is fully of grey and telling hypothetical democrat Bob Jones he's a massive racist because he dressed as a native american for halloween isn't going to wake him up it's going to kick him out of the tent.

    We can all then be surprised when Trump or similar wins again and wonder why all these "uneducated" white folks vote for shitty assholes.


    I believe "no you can't do that shit anymore" is a better message than "You're a horrible human being for having done it at all, at any time, in any context"

    Public figures should apologize for the shitty things they've done and point to their records on the good things and if those scales don't balance THEN you toss em.
    Purity tests can get fucked.

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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Inkstain82 wrote: »
    The best way to truly show change is to de-center yourself from power and support underprivileged groups in seeking and gaining power.

    We want to think of racism as blackface. Blackface is a symptom, and often it’s a safety valve so we can say “don’t do that and you’re fine.”

    Racism is black patients having worse outcomes on average when they go to the doctor, partially because doctors on average believe their reports of symptoms less than they believe it from white people.

    It’s their representation in political power still running at about half of their share of the population, with similar results in management in private fields. And it’s so many more things.

    It’s absolutely reasonable to say “I’m a different person now.” But if you feel like you can’t show you are a different person without being in a position of power and leadership, are you really all that different? Power dynamics are the problem. Being willing to lead the fight for equality is better than fighting against it, but white liberal America is deeply uncomfortable with not being in the lead at all.
    Hot damn this is a good post, and echos my sentiments better than I could've hoped to have written.

    But yeah, there's a show-not-tell aspect to all this. Apologies and speeches aside, what matters is the actions taken. They don't have to be big, like legislation proposal, but even promoting activists raising awareness (while not speaking FOR them) helps.

    Most importantly, with all of the above considered, it takes time. And there's no hard number on that. The people targeted by bigotry are the ones in control of when it's forgiven or enough has been done to atone, etc. Though those people are not a hive-mind, and you'll find some willing to forgive earlier than others, and some never willing to forgive. However that goes, none of them are wrong for that.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Well in the case of elected officials, there's the issue of representation. Bigots shouldn't be representing non-bigots nor the targets of said bigotry. Hence calls to step down.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I hate to bust out the p-word - like, I really fucking hate it - but it seems the idea that the proper course of action is to step down from power comes from a position of privilege.

    Like, our hypothetical person here did something bad, is genuinely remorseful, and legitimately wants to make things better. Further, they are in a position where they can directly effect change.

    And the argument is that, even though they can make a positive difference where they are, they have not earned the right to use their power to make such changes? "Hey, sorry, underpriviliged people. This person could do something to help you out in a meaningful way, but he's not worthy. We're going to have him step down and hope the next person also wants to help you out."

    You’re assuming that the underprivileged people in this hypothetical would make that same bargain (keeping someone with a problematic past in the hope that the person can deliver real change) but that’s not necessarily the case. In your hypothetical it’s taken as premise that this person in a position of power is honestly reformed and wants to help, but in the real world you don’t know what’s in someone’s heart.

    Even if they honestly want to help, maybe their past has exposed the possibility that are not in position to give the best help because they don’t understand fully what it is to be a member of the offended group, or whatever other failure of experience, imagination or judgement led them to make this mistake in the first place.

    ACsTqqK.jpg
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Buuuuuuut isn't the idea that they're no longer engaging in bigoted behavior, and in fact are legitimately remorseful and want to use their power to enact good?

    Because if they're still doing bigoted shit, or don't care to make amends, then the question is an easy and uninteresting one. But that's not the question posed.

    A lot of this discussion seems overly focused on the hypothetical ex-bigot. "He should step down because he did a bad thing and giving up power is the punishment for that." But that completely ignores what he can accomplish in his current position. It seems as if the question of where he can do the most good is irrelevant.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
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