Monday, April 4, 2011

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Do we have a tendency to deny most those things closest to truth?

I think yes.  With an emphasis on "closest," rather than "truth."

I at least have no compulsion to deny the truth; denying the truth carries a heavy personal penalty to me which is proportional to what I have to gain.  That is, the more I would "get" by denying the truth, the more compulsion I have to tell the truth.  (Ill-gotten gains are a moral burden.  Ten million dollars ill-gotten are ten million times worse than one dollar ill-gotten.  There's never a point where the payoff exceeds the cost to me.  This is also why I dislike participating in contests, no matter the prize; I attach no value to those things I have acquired without effort, and a whole lot of nothing is still nothing.  On a utilitarian level contests bother me because if when I do win, I deprive somebody else of a joy I do not gain in turn, but this has no moral bearing.)

Similarly I feel no compulsion to deny the ridiculous; to what ends?

Those things which compel me most are those things which contain enough truth to be believable, but contain falsehoods which either mar the truth of the statement or which misconstrue truths to construct a falsehood..

Climate change can rile me up; it has just enough truth not to be outright dismissed.  It is, to me, an example of the latter: A little bit of truth being misused to craft a believable falsehood.  It is an unparalleled moral crime in my eyes where intentional, and the evidence is that more than a little of what has been done has been intentional.

On the far side of that token are arguments, particularly those which agree with me, which contain falsehoods, which tarnish not only the immediate argument but the cause which that argument represents.

This broaches a broader topic I have a strong opinion of - that of group reputation, which I will touch upon immediately in a follow-up post.

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