Reinforcement II

Concerning “Reinforcement“, relating to groupthink elements to supposedly righteous behaviours, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

Presumably you couldn’t be wrong if the ultimate values of society are legitimately defined by trendsetters, enforced by democratic acquiescence, and you tread the mean. However, if there are values that are absolute–the Golden Rule, for example–and one’s society does not extend it to certain of its minorities, such as Jews in Nazi Germany, Communists in McCarthy America, etc., I would argue you were wrong, even if everyone said you were right.

And consider Kierkegaard’s view. Values were set by a minority who truly believed in the public good and were altruistically willing to sacrifice their self-interest. A larger group, however, were primarily self interested and only pretended to be onside. The largest group were not concerned with the rightness of values at all, but only that they were personally accepted wholeheartedly by others, through the apparent rightness of their actions.

So you could appear benevolent and righteous, without being truly committed inwardly to the values. A hypocrite! And most were such.

Is it enough to simply appear as it you have appropriate values? Is it enough to maintain a society’s values, even if they might be considered unjust, in relation to a particular subgroup?

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About brucelarochelle

Practising Lawyer and Part-Time University Instructor (Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behaviour); Part-Time Federal Tribunal Member. Non-practising Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant).
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