Monday, July 20, 2015

Thoughts About Respect, Part II

There is another dichotomous pairing of incompatible concepts of respect which is in play in today’s culture war: the logical tension between self-respect and acquired respect.

First, self-respect is based in acknowledging that one has met one’s own standards on the one hand, and on the other self-respect can be based on what one is told one’s value is (conferred self-respect). The first is healthy; the second, conferred self-respect, is not.

Conferred self-respect can be too high or too low, and both are against reality and thus are abuses:

Obviously, abuse of the child can confer an artificially depressed self-respect which does not reflect the capabilities of the child.

The flip side is that educators today are inclined to artificially boost all children’s self-respect, and to inflate it to the point of saturation. This is done on the presupposition that children come from disadvantaged environments where developing healthy self-respect is difficult. But artificially inflated self-respect is not healthy either, and it leads to a narcissistic-like attitude if the artificial self-respect does not match actual accomplishments or developed capabilities.

The dichotomy comes into play when adults, groups of adults or classes of adults, demand that their acquired respect, which is naturally derived by other people's observations of the reality of the actions and character of those involved, be matched to their inflated, saturated concept of self-respect which they have for themselves. This attempts to force the rational observation into equality with the irrational self-concept. Because they are demonstrably not equal, the demand is irrational.

So it cannot work that way. The act of making such a demand will affect the amount of respect which these people will receive by reducing the acquired respect, not increasing it to the inflated level which is demanded.

Because this should be obvious but apparently is not, the demand must be countered with the rational concepts:
1. Acquired respect cannot be demanded into existence.

2. Demanding acquired respect is irrational.

3. Demanding acquired respect cannot occur in actual reality, regardless of force.

4. Demanding acquired respect will result in a decrease in acquired respect, not an increase.

An example from recent political news is the attack on Martin O’Malley, for saying “all lives matter” to a group of black racist activists. They demanded that O’Malley change his statement to only “black lives matter”, implying that respect for blacks is demanded at a level which is higher than any respect which is to be afforded to non-blacks. O’Malley caved to the demand, and at least pretended to give inflated respect to “black lives” over all other lives, which, for a white man, is absurd, and for an American of any race or class is the equivalent of denial of universal human rights and constitutional equal rights.

In a class-oriented philosophy, inflated self-respect is innate to the elite class (Messiahs), who self-endow with delusions of superior intellectual and moral characteristics. This irrational inflation of self-respect (and delusions of superiority) beyond any conceivable reality cannot ever be equal to voluntarily conferred, rationally acquired respect. So that demand will always be met with failure and conflict.

Perhaps it is designed to do so.

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