Tuesday, July 18, 2017

blame and responsibility as external vs. internal

One fascinating thing that tends to separate liberal/conservative or Dem/GOP (whatever those terms are taken to mean): a tendency to ascribe blame and responsibility to the person vs. external circumstances. (Libertarians often do both-- e.g., personal responsibility is big, but the government has done a ton of harm to poor people, African-Americans, etc.)

Usually, the "conservative" propensity to "blame people" for their state is portrayed as heartless. But at least they're consistent: they also blame themselves when they're overweight (h/t: Harpers). In contrast, liberal extend the "blame others" lens to themselves, reducing the role of choice. If we're going to call the former "heartless", maybe we should call the latter "naive"?

Irony: Dems/liberals tend to be Calvinists in their implied theology and on matters of personal conduct (e.g., emphasizing orientation over choice). And yet, they often view a relatively Calvinistic god as deeply troubling. So much reduces to free will vs. pre-destination!



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