Friday, February 04, 2011

Yeah, But . . .

I am sick of the "yeah, but" non-argument. This occurs whenever you criticize someone who is a member of a particular person's group. If you point out racist comments made by some progressive/leftist, you may be sure that some progressive/leftist will come around and say, "yeah, but" and list a variety of offenders on the right. Naturally, this is not just a phenomenon of the left. I mention them only because I have had that argument raised several times by some progressives I know. But people in all groups do it all the time in regards to members of their group. They will immediately respond by pointing out the shortcomings of some other group. If the criticism of a member of their group is acknowledged at all, it is then quickly buried under an avalanche of "yeah, but's".

Is it really too much to ask for someone to just outright condemn bad behavior or attitudes by a member of their group? Or is this just one of the expected side effects of collectivist thinking? Truly social thinking does not defend bad behavior or attitudes of those in their society. Quite the contrary. Those things are seen as undermining of society. However, they can act as binding in a collectivist grouping. Collectivism isn't social. It is fundamentally anti-social. It is exclusive of other groups. Those who think this way will automatically defend those in their groups. This group-think is what underlies all forms of collectivist thinking, from racism at the most primitive to socialism at the most advanced. Both are exclusive of those they oppose, and consider deviations to be signs of mental illness, since they cannot think "rationally," which is to say, exactly as the group thinks. The result is that collectivist thinking results in a variety of unethical behaviors on the part of the members of the groups in question. Yet it is all justified to protect the group. And that is where the "yeah, but's" all come from -- from the attitude that one has to protect the group at all cost.
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