Author Topic: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?  (Read 948 times)

Ayotollah of Ass

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I have no idea where this should go or whether its even appropriate for the board. Thought that came to me as part of another thread, and I figured I'd just put it out there and step in the poop.

==

Thought experiment: Suppose you are a fly on the wall, and you hear a member of the Church of Scientology's Sea Organization say something along these lines to a new recruit coming in for training:

"I believe, 'We Come Back'. We are part of an ancient organization that once tried to save the Earth and failed, and I think we are going to play an important role in the eventual redemption of humanity."

We know certain things about this organization. We know there are billion year contracts, low wages, various forms of social control, etc. There are many accounts of ex-members in the Church and ex-Sea Org members like Paul Haggis, John Brousseau, and others, that suggest it's an exploitative situation, and it's an exploitative organization. There is also evidence that any opinions counter to the organization's views can have very real negative consequences for people in the organization (and without) that express them. There is also the context here where we would probably assume that part of what the person saying this is trying to do is convince the new recruit. In short, we have a lot of reason to doubt the person believes what they are saying.

But, let's also assume they mean it. They may be living in a socially constructed reality and effectively brainwashed. But, they believe the Church of Scientology's teachings. They found that it helped them recover from some horrors that happened to them before convertion to the religion/cult, or they just accepted what they have been told from birth, maybe because they don't know any better. Maybe it is Stockholm syndrome.

Does there come a point where levels of exploitation get so high that it is impossible to believe the person being exploited anymore - where the observers perception of reality trumps the experience and the attitudes of the person actually having the experience? How far do you take it? For example:

1. How far do we linguistically parse what they are saying so that we can convince ourselves that, deep down, they agree with us about their situation, despite what it looks what they are saying on the surface is in direct opposition to our view?

2. What happens when we start lowering down the exploitation, say to the level of Jehovah's Witnesses, AAA baseball or any other example you care to think of?

Note: Please exclude porn from this discussion, since turning this thread into Porn Princess thread #3 is not my intent, and it's best if we just keep that as explicitly off-topic. If you want to talk porn, you know where to find those threads.

3. How do we avoid the trap of soft paternalism - which means, to me, basically believing that our opinions about reality are better than other people's opinions without having a real basis for making that claim? At the extremes, it is the difference between this Sea Org example (which, at least, is defensible) and say, people asserting that all liberals/conservatives are ignorant fucktards deluded by MSM or Fox News (which mostly, isn't).

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 08:06:19 pm »
Good topic, and really interesting... I'll come back to it after some thought. It really ties into my sociology studies.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 06:18:34 pm »
3. How do we avoid the trap of soft paternalism - which means, to me, basically believing that our opinions about reality are better than other people's opinions without having a real basis for making that claim?

No, that's called "Being a DUMBASS".

Soft paternalism is when you know what's best for everyone, but don't actually swing night sticks to get them there.
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tipareth

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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 06:57:20 pm »
OK I think you have opened a really wide discussion. Permit me to put what you are saying into my own language. Basically you are asking whether we are ever really justified in judging someone else's viewpoint if they really are convinced of it, right?  Well in your example, for instance, we CAN judge whether there is any reasonable chance someone should believe this organization is some ancient thing that tried to save the world and it will come back. I know that we are speaking of metaphysical things and not everything is under the jurisdiction of scientific scrutiny but aspects of it will be. If we are truly objective in all things when we analyze something I believe we can approach an understanding and even agree that our viewpoints part but we see where and how and why they part. Typically after a little digging we can find really one or two things that lead us down certain paths. I realized I've moved to more general discussion. I'll more directly respond in my next paragraph.

OK, what makes your question a little cyclical is that you are starting with the assumption that the fundamental subject is indeed part of a false belief and is brainwashed-"They may be living in a socially constructed reality and effectively brainwashed. But, they believe the Church of Scientology's teachings." This already puts our experience as more objective than theirs.
 
Does there come a point where levels of exploitation get so high that it is impossible to believe the person being exploited anymore - where the observers perception of reality trumps the experience and the attitudes of the person actually having the experience? Of course. This person's beliefs are eventually going to lead them to something in the objective world which can be analyzed. If your beliefs can be directly refuted then they are refuted.

1. How far do we linguistically parse what they are saying so that we can convince ourselves that, deep down, they agree with us about their situation, despite what it looks what they are saying on the surface is in direct opposition to our view? I'm afraid I need clarification here. Why are we trying to convince ourselves they agree with us?

2. What happens when we start lowering down the exploitation, say to the level of Jehovah's Witnesses, AAA baseball or any other example you care to think of? Again if someone is exploited to the point of being objectively disconnected from reality then that's that.

3. You can avoid the trap of "soft paternalism" by you yourself being objective in your views. Also Sea Org is only more defensible than the other in that it is less falsifiable and therefore less objective and useful.

Dildo Argentino

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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 06:05:45 am »
3. How do we avoid the trap of soft paternalism - which means, to me, basically believing that our opinions about reality are better than other people's opinions without having a real basis for making that claim? At the extremes, it is the difference between this Sea Org example (which, at least, is defensible) and say, people asserting that all liberals/conservatives are ignorant fucktards deluded by MSM or Fox News (which mostly, isn't).

Firstly, and seriously, what is wrong with soft paternalism? Patronising and condescension in themselves have never really hurt anyone. We have the freedom to choose and wallow in traps to the best/worst of our abilities/desires.

Secondly, I don't think the trap can be avoided altogether (except in a few unicorn cases, and then it's bloody hard work, self-imposed solitary confinement probably makes it easier). Noticing that we're in it and clambering out as often as possible is a more realistic target. I personally reflect frequently on the maxim that each person should be in control of their lives, and the decision to take that control from anyone (children included!!) is one that should never be made lightly. Also, even without intervention, the opinion that I know what's right for another person better than they themselves do is hazardous material and should be treated with care.

Most liberals and conservatives are, while not "fucktards", somewhat gullible and less than autonomous, not so? But that is their right.
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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 06:44:19 am »
3. How do we avoid the trap of soft paternalism - which means, to me, basically believing that our opinions about reality are better than other people's opinions without having a real basis for making that claim? At the extremes, it is the difference between this Sea Org example (which, at least, is defensible) and say, people asserting that all liberals/conservatives are ignorant fucktards deluded by MSM or Fox News (which mostly, isn't).

Firstly, and seriously, what is wrong with soft paternalism? Patronising and condescension in themselves have never really hurt anyone. We have the freedom to choose and wallow in traps to the best/worst of our abilities/desires.

 :lol: :roll: :lol: :roll: :lol:
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.



All that goodness, with a frozen chicken in the middle.
― Doktor Howl, 2014

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Re: Soft paternalism, linguistic parsing and exploitation: Do you mean it?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 04:08:12 am »
3. How do we avoid the trap of soft paternalism - which means, to me, basically believing that our opinions about reality are better than other people's opinions without having a real basis for making that claim? At the extremes, it is the difference between this Sea Org example (which, at least, is defensible) and say, people asserting that all liberals/conservatives are ignorant fucktards deluded by MSM or Fox News (which mostly, isn't).

If an opinion is so ridiculous as to require someone to be intellectually helpless to hold it, then you should have a basis to attack the idea on (the lack of) its own merits, without resorting to paternalism. (By "intellectually helpless," I mean someone you could legitimately be paternalistic towards, like a child or a brainwash victim.) If it isn't that patently ridiculous, then you shouldn't be so dismissive of their opinion.

1. How far do we linguistically parse what they are saying so that we can convince ourselves that, deep down, they agree with us about their situation, despite what it looks what they are saying on the surface is in direct opposition to our view?

I'm not sure what you mean by "linguistically parse" - do you mean something like listening to the above Sea Org quote and then thinking "What he really said there was that his membership in Sea Org lets him feel good about himself, because he believes its mission has cosmic importance."? Tracking down to what you think the person is really experiencing, but is unable to express because their worldview is so warped?
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