Monday, November 4, 2013

Good intentions not good enough

The other day I was with a group of my relatives. One of the children is a quirky guy, probably could be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum but his parents seem to worry about stigmatizing him with any sort of label. Another adult relative grabbed him in sort of a roughhousing way and the child screamed bloody murder. We were in a crowded place and everyone turned to look at what could possibly cause such a reaction. There should be nothing unusual about a child who does not like to be grabbed by surprise, but I guess a lot of children like it? So people do it and basically expect all children to like it; if they don't they're often labeled "too sensitive" or some other label that shifts the blame on them for their reaction, rather than it staying on the perpetrator where it belongs. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but think about how much I distrust good intentions (I write about it here, the tendency to self-deceive about good intentions here, and the inherent paternalism or one-size-fits-all hubristic approach of many good-intentioned behaviors here).

I'm not saying that the guy who grabbed the child was "wrong", largely because I don't care about the moral rightness or wrongness of such actions (even if morality plays a part in some decisions, I believe that most things in life have no moral implications at all). What I am saying is that the last thing in the world that my little relative wanted to have happen was to be grabbed in that way. The adult of course apologized, but I've also seen people in similar situations defend their position, as if trying to convince the victim that they should toughen up, or that the treatment is good for them (see above re paternalism and hubris), or often the perpetrators seem to honestly believe that the victim actually does like that treatment, but is just being intentionally difficult as a form of politicking or emotional manipulation. Whatever the reason, the violators in these situations (the persons who impose their own will on another person, ignoring the that person's autonomy and volition) often excuse their own behavior or believe that they are not responsible for the consequences of their own actions because that is not what they intended. And that is the most dangerous thing about them.

I really like this quote from C.S. Lewis from his essay anthology "God in the Dock" (1948):

My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

This is a major reason why I am libertarian -- people are bad enough about this without giving them the authority and power of the state to use. 


  1. Hm. I lean towards libertarianism too... and I love C.S. Lewis. :)

    1. I was hoping you could answer something for me.

      How did your husband take it when you were emasculating and humiliating him on the forum?

      It had to hurt watching your wife engaging in cybersex openly, for a narcissistic boost.

    2. Why do you care about her husband? What about the person she was engaging in cybersex with?

    3. Oh please. About as "hurt", "objectified", and "de-feminized" as I feel when he looks at porn. :P We belong to each other. Meaningless words on a page could never change that.

      Now I'm hoping that you'll answer something for me. Why are you such a spineless coward that you felt compelled to post that anonymously? I scare you that much? Say it to my face, you weak pussy.

    4. Ha! For once someone's called out one of the army of Anons who just love to pick at strangers' lives. What bitches they are.

    5. @Alterego
      You greatly overestimate yourself. That much could not be clearer.
      I have been reading this blog for over a year. It helps me better understand the sociopath in my life. I have no desire to create an account. Not that it would matter much. I suspect you would then demand to know whose puppet I am.

      I assume your husband watches porn in private. You chose to have cyber sex openly. One is a harmless masturbatory aid. The other is a spouse openly showing utter disrespect for the purposes of cultivating a femme fatale image and securing a quick narcissistic boost.

      Considering your reaction whenever your ego is challenged, it would not surprise me if he chose to keep silent. At least until it became too insulting. I was of course referring to the juvenile profanity, posturing and the volumes of verbose text you are [in]famous for on this blog.

      Someone using the fact that questions or comments were posted anonymously as a basis of attack is not a new development in any way.
      I fail to see how it changes the question if I asked it anonymously or under the name William.
      This is a sociopath blog. I suspect there are many who like to enjoy it without being registered and directly linked to it.

    6. "Harmless" is a matter of perspective. I am sure many washed up porn stars might object to your trite analysis and characterization of that term. My husband and I have a fairly open relationship, and we establish boundaries together. Who are you to define what is "acceptable" or "disrespectful" within the confines of anyone else's relationship- or to make assumptions and judgements about our sex life, for that matter? If you had a legitimate question, why not rather ask me directly, as opposed to resorting to cowardly snipes under the cover of an anonymous sock puppet? That tells me that you fear being the object of my contempt and ridicule. So who is protecting her ego, here?

      You also make assumptions concerning my reasons for doing it. Did it ever occur to you that I might have simply been playing around with a person whose writing titillated me? I have a high sex drive, which is entirely separate from my emotions. Some might say that makes my husband a lucky man. To each their own. What *you* think about *our* relationship is irrelevant.

      The fact of the matter is that it you are the only person getting offended and being rendered indignant by our little trysts. That says more about you than me, or my husband... "William".

    7. What a great example of verbose posturing.

      To each their own indeed. I leave the washed up porn stars to deal with their choices.
      I do not recall mentioning your sex life or asking about whether or not you have an open relationship. I was asking how your husband handled what most men would consider to be highly offensive. You claim to be a Christian and yet flaunt your virtual adultery. Your reasons for doing so are clearer than you think.

      Why do you assume that I am getting offended or being rendered indignant? An emotional investment on my part is not necessary for me to provoke your narcissistic rage.

      With regards to the sock puppetry, what is it that you think I would have to fear from you? More volumes of text?

    8. You made assumptions regarding my husband's use of pornography, and continue to insist that I engaged in "virtual adultery", in spite of having no idea what the boundaries are within our relationship. That certainly constitutes "mentioning my sex life". Accusing me of verbose posturing does not mitigate the fact that you are making judgemental proclamations based upon suppositions, and refusing to even address that point.

      Your judgements concerning my lack of morality are of no consequence to me. I'd have to care to rage. But if you are not offended or indignant, why would you enquire about my husband's reaction to something *you* consider unpalatable? Why would you bother to use your "questions" as a platform from which to launch an accusatory tirade, if you are as indifferent to me as you insinuate?

      If you're a regular, and you claim to not be concerned with getting flamed, what are your motives for hiding behind an anonymous sock puppet?

      If you truly didn't care, you would address me openly. But you're too spineless to even do that. So why should I deign to answer any of your questions? I have no respect for lying cowards.

    9. Seems your narcissistic rage is impeding your comprehension.

      Are you forgetting that you are the one that mentioned your husband's use of porn? I made the assumption that he would most likely do so in private.

      The term virtual adultery is generally considered appropriate for any married person engaging in cyber sex.
      These are indeed great and unwarranted assumptions you are raging about.

      I have already explained that there is no moral indignation. You are the one making assumptions about a platform. I asked a question regarding your husband's take on the events that transpired because I was wondering what his reaction really was. That simple.

      Your obsession with puppetry is tiresome. I told you I read the blog. I do not post regularly, which would not make me a regular. Furthermore, I have no intention of registering.

      You do not need to reply. Your defensiveness and immature attempts to shift the focus entirely onto my anonymity speak volumes.

    10. And it would seem that your obtuse incapacity to read people, or between the lines, impedes your comprehension skills.

      You asked me how my husband took it when I was "emasculating" and "humiliating" him on the forum, insisting that it had to "hurt" when I committed "virtual adultery". That is not the equivalent of "asking a question regarding my husband's take on the events that transpired" because you were wondering "what his reaction really was." Who do you think you're fooling? Furthermore, when I compared what his response might be to my reaction vis-a-vis his watching porn, I answered your question in full. Dolt.

      In addition to misrepresenting your intentions and back-peddling on your aggressive stance, your statements are chock-full of assumptions and value judgements concerning my marriage, ethics, and sexuality. You appropriate definitions for terms like "adultery", and project your own standards onto everyone else. Typical empath.

      You say this blog helps you understand the sociopath in your life. The way in which you attempted to manipulate this conversation, though feeble and transparent, shows me that you've picked up a few of his tricks. Are you here because you want to learn to fight back more effectively, and counter his abuse, anonymouse?

      I'll tell you a secret. I'm not raging at all. I love this game. If I didn't want to play, I would have simply told you to mind your own damned business. :)
      Yet as entertaining as it is, it is a waste of my time, and according to my own beliefs, wrong... So I need to cut this shit out. (And not really because I want to. I kind of miss everyone at SW. :P)

      Feel free to take your leave, Lady MacPuppet Pantybunch. I don't really care to hear the answers to the questions I asked; they're for you to reflect upon. With that... You are dismissed! Lol.

    11. > (And not really because I want to. I kind of miss everyone at SW. :P)

      thy miss you too ;)

    12. @Alterego

      An excellent example of how those with NPD believe their own lies with absolute certainty and project to protect their egos.

      It has been entertaining watching you jump around beating your chest like a gorilla, using juvenile profanities, then claim you were calmly enjoying a game.

      You could have told me to mind my own business, but your ego would not allow it. You had to posture and do all but scream
      "Come at me, bro" for several posts, then give it your all for the last word. All for the love of the game of course.

      Your self deception is spectacular. As I said, you give yourself far too much credit. As evidenced by the way you take theories you concoct as absolute fact. Such as your insistence that I am a female, empath, fear you and am being abused.

      With all your egotism, hypocrisy, blindness and immaturity, I don't consider your husband to be lucky at all.

      To each his own. I wish him the best of luck.

    13. I don't take them as fact at all. In fact, I think have a pretty good idea of who you might be, on account of your writing style. I'm just prodding, and cold reading.

      What "profanities" have I been "screaming" at you? (Lady Macpanties in a bunch? Lol!) I merely called you on misrepresenting your intentions when you launched this cowardly anonymous attack under the guise of asking "simple questions". You accuse me of adultery, when you know nothing about the boundaries within our marriage, and project your own definitions of "emasculation" and "disrespect" onto my relationship. But rather than address that valid point, you deflect from the weakness of your position by positing that I have succumbed to some sort of rage, and insist that I am "pounding my chest like a gorilla." How amusingly transparent of you. :)

      And yet- *you're* the only one launching attacks, projecting your moral standards onto my relationship, labelling my pathology, and resorting to name-calling. All from atop your lofty position of moral and psychological superiority, of course.~

      Keep coming at me, "bro". The corner you've painted yourself into looks pretty small, from my vantage point. I wish you the best of luck. :-)

    14. Your diagnosis of NPD has previously been discussed, at length, by several others whose opinions I value.

      As well as the fact that I could bang my hand against this keyboard and you will concoct numerous theories from the resulting random string of letters. Theories that you will try to present as absolute truth and testament to your superiority.

      Build the throne in your mind ever higher, Alterego.

  2. "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Who said that?
    Very often, in the course of opposing an evil. We only impose a
    newer evil. Such is the way of social reformers.

  3. great post.
    The one size fits all paternalism is so present in many "upstanding" families who scapegoat the children who dare ask questions. What's so sad is that these family structures/individuals who get things "mostly right" would probably be improved in functioning and flexibility if the self proclaimed authority figures were less afraid of the questions being asked.
    Sometimes the younger generations pick up on problems/inconsistencies that are undermining the effectiveness of a paternalistic structure. What is so tragic is that instead of hearing the question of a child as a chance to "tweak" problematic ways of relating (for example- your relative that spooked your younger cousin might've learned that that sort of behavior is obnoxious if they weren't so busy self justifying) they switch into a sort of defensive rage to protect themselves from criticism. The end result is a completely disproportionate shaming and questioning of a little kid who really didn't mean any harm.

    I think the only cure for a situation like this is for the paternalistic authority figures to stop acting as defenders of "moral order" as a cover for their own narcissistic touchiness. Only when leadership has the capacity it still has things to learn (even from unlikely sources such as children) can a family/institution continue to be a source of strength and nourishment to its members.

  4. "They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth."

    The oppressive justifications of those whom take it upon themselves to shape the world in their image. Religion in a nutshell. But back to the topic, that can also be applied to righteous parents/community etc.

  5. "So people do it and basically expect all children to like it; if they don't they're often labeled 'too sensitive' or some other label that shifts the blame on them for their reaction, rather than it staying on the perpetrator where it belongs."


  6. A fine post.

    At the risk of sounding like a high-school teacher, those who are interested in pursuing this idea further should check out Isaiah Berlin on the 'Two Concepts of Liberty' (the two being 'positive' or coercive, paternalistic "liberty" and 'negative' liberty which is the libertarian of the two).

    1. thanks for the tip! would love to check that out...

  7. What did the parent's do when this happened? Did they step in and say to the "perp", please don't touch my child like that again and explain why? If not they should have.


  8. that kid needs a good whippin'

  9. "It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies."

    "but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    There is so much wrong here. He is completely illogical. I can't believe this guy was considered good at math. He sounds like a fucking moron. Just goes to show that brilliance in one sphere does not mean anything at all with regards to overall sense, intelligence and lack of bias anywhere else. See Linus Pauling as well.

  10. aspie, I say this with an understanding that you and I share different backgrounds, and full awareness you are definitely smarter than I am in all ways mathematical (and likely others) -
    Until you have been mindfucked by religious people who are convinced they have God on their side these quotes make no sense. But my life experience causes these quotes to ring very true. I am convinced that the sadistic and the self righteous share far too much in common. Both guard against an awareness of their own frailty by scapegoating others. Neither are individuals who have any business molding young minds to satisfy their own twisted need to feel superior to someone vulnerable.

  11. Hi Machavellianepath

    It's not about someone being smarter than someone. I think you sell yourself short. It's about the danger lies everywhere. It's about abuse of words and ideas to make fales points. Preachers do it, sociopaths do it, and the egomaniac clever poets and writers do it. They all suck.

    People make the mistake of looking outward for answers.

  12. I love to see that aspie is still here posting youtube links.

  13. Hi pythias, good to see you too.

    Scorpions song

  14. We don't have intentions. We are run by information. Decisions are made before consciousness makes them. Now which information do you want to be run by? its your choice. You can choose to be (run by inspiration/new data), or to be run by memories (old data).


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