Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm Not Responsible

Eric at Classical Values is looking at a question that has vexed him for quite some time. Is A responsible for what B says? Actually the post in question is a little more convoluted than that, but the convolution - necessary for his point - is not what I want to talk about.

I'm not responsible for what David Duke says.

I am responsible for my associations with him. (I don't have any)

So is David Duke a nice guy? Who knows? Even if he was I wouldn't associate with him. I do not wish to be seen as a supporter of his views. Fair or unfair that is the way the world works. Since I can't see what is in your heart I have to judge by outward appearances. Yeah, I know - it sucks. A lot of human nature does not correspond to what we see as our ideal selves. Which may not be ideal at at. After all nature made us what we are in order to survive nature (and humans which are a big part of the nature we deal with).

So when does a person's views get bad enough that I should stop associating with that person?

It is a judgment call.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


LarryD said...

Japanese proverb: "When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."

Westernn proverb: "BIrds of a feather flock together."

Susan's Husband said...

The fundamental error here is treating "responsible" as a binary relation, i.e. one either is or is not. In real life, it's a continuous function of how closely one's relationship is with the speaker and the nature of the relationship.

It's a lot like computer trust models, which people found didn't work if the only values were "trust" and "not trust". It was necessary to have trust fade out gradually.

M. Simon said...


I covered that a while back. Linking it to fuzzy logic.

So I agree.

Maybe I need to start reusing some of my old material.