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Thread: Moral call of duty to public service?

  1. #21
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    Nah, you're not, I was high as shit when I wrote the OP.

    I'll change

    to


    Please do help me refine the question guys, I'm actually curious as to the answer.

    I saw a man stuck on an icy hill and immediately pulled over and asked if he needed help; he said he only needed to make it to the top of the hill so I backed my car up and attached some straps from my chassis to his. This was in twenty degree snowing weather so I'm double timing it as there are no good mount points on his car and I'm on ice on my back. My straps break almost immediately . At this point a FJ cruiser has pulled up and is waiting to have a go, he gets out and is military, I thank him for his service as I'm leaving and he actually thanked me back; in a captain america sort of way.

    Anyways, question: did I have a moral obligation to pull over and help the old man?
    The way I see it, there's just too much context needed.

    I'm not about to pull over on the motorway or in my city street and help some guy in the breakdown lane, i'll likely just cause more trouble for everyone.

    Heph says, for instance, that he might not pull over to help someone in the middle of woop woop (i'm paraphrasing, I think going of my several day memory of this thread), for various definitions of "woop woop" I'd agree, although on the other hand culturally I'd generally assume people in "the bush" are more friendly than the ones in the city.

    But another distinction yet again must be made for expected behaviour between that and anyone traveling in the remote regions of "the outback", where I've basically been taught that you stop for anyone/everyone pulled over who looks like they're in trouble because it could actually be life or death out there.

    But, again, in other contexts, I've been with my wife on my holidays, seen idiot europeans/asian tourists doing things and I try to hightail it out of the area because I've got better things to do than spend my holiday in a police station giving a statement on how I saw fuckwit X doing Y before his brains got splattered.

    Back to the main definitions though, civilised society is an interesting one.

    As is public service. I immediately thought you were talking about serving in the civil government for the public good. I also know that other people view becoming a politician or joining the military as a general form of public service, whereas I would not generally count either of those as such...

  2. #22
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    ^There was that Australian serial killer who haunted the outback and put dead people in handmade tents. I would be too scared to help anyone in the outback. Same around my home in New Mexico. There was a hitchhiker my mom and I saw once or twice along our commute, and he eventually turned out to be a serial killer from a Canadian cult.

    Before, we had myths about creatures that haunt the wilderness - chupacabras and La Llorona. Now we have serial killers instead. I think these myths/stories are an interesting counterbalance to the fairly universal cultural expectation/stereotype of rural hospitality, which often (and paradoxically) goes hand in hand with conservatism driven by fear. I think it results in something like: yes, you have a moral obligation to help "insiders" - people from your community and culture (and, at worst, people from your race and ethnicity) but you also have the moral leeway to shun outsiders due to the monstrous qualities they're stereotyped with. That's how the moral cookie seemed to crumble in my culture back home.

  3. #23
    Member Viktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    I think when dealing with a social animal, it becomes a bit like the transition from single cell to multi-cell organisms. Long long long ago, survival of fittest pitted cells against each other. Somewhere along the way, cells started working together as a single organism, specializing in function.

    In solitary animals, survival of the fittest is very much a personal effort, with mating being about the only time they come together. But for social animals, survival of the fittest drifts toward the fittest being at the society level. They develop in-groups and out-groups an those in the in-group are cared for just because they're part of the group--unless they start to be toxic to the group, and then I think the typical fix is either exile or eradication.

    Social animals are a drift in the direction of multi-animal units. I think we even tend to think of ourselves in those terms at various levels and to various degrees. As a species we maximize fitness by maximizing survivability.
    Right. I see where you're coming from. Evolutionary evolution. The evolution algorithm changes as conditions or requirements change. At some point, cooperation becomes more optimal than survival of the fittest, and the group grows. I can see that happening.

  4. #24
    Member Zephyrus's Avatar
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    I think the OP is a lot like asking this: Does a peasant have a moral duty to fight for his feudal lord in a war against his rival feudal lord? In that light, I do not see why I ought to sacrifice my own comfort and perhaps survival to benefit a political entity that is organized to oppress me.

  5. #25
    a cantori Perdix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyrus View Post
    I think the OP is a lot like asking this: Does a peasant have a moral duty to fight for his feudal lord in a war against his rival feudal lord? In that light, I do not see why I ought to sacrifice my own comfort and perhaps survival to benefit a political entity that is organized to oppress me.
    I didn't mention methods of rule, nor feudalism.

  6. #26
    Member Zephyrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    I didn't mention methods of rule, nor feudalism.
    You're right, you didn't. I said that as an analogy, because most people don't see contemporary democracy as one big mind fuck that attempts to conceal the hierarchical organization of society. So my point is that whatever duties a citizen has to serve his/her country is no different from the duties a peasant had to his lord.

    That said, I have nothing against charitable work, as long as it isn't done on behalf of, say, the Peace Corps.

  7. #27
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    @Zephyrus is right: life is feudal. Certain eras we've more openly acknowledged the feudality of it all, but life remains feudal if you take a look at the shape of things and not the labels.
    Every master plan has one overarching contingency that will be required for success: desenrascanšo. In light of this, it is tempting to skip the planning phase and just make desenrascanšo your master plan. I don't recommend this, but it has worked out for me in the past to an alarming degree. The problem is it keeps you too focused on the short term to ever improve your situation in the long.
    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  8. #28
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    The older I get, the more I think military service should be mandatory. This is from comparing and contrasting the people I know who have done it vs. those who haven't. Worlds apart.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  9. #29
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    We are each individual aspects of the same whole.

    We are but vessles carrying the DNA, experiencing fragments of the archetypal mind..

    I don't think military training should be mandatory, survivalism perhaps, but not aggression.

    We could be teaching our children and adolescents about love, healing, community and spirituality... Instead we are busy teaching them to murder in the name of chasing paper promissory notes for politicians, bankers, kings, queens and churches.

    Fucking ridiculous.
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


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