Are forms of discrimination necessarily wrong? Why wouldn't discrimination serve a "developmental" purpose?

That is, in order to perceive "better" or "worse", there must be a way to discriminate against "worse". Thus discrimination is not naively a form of "bullying", but it can or even serve a human development aspect, correct?

Notice, I'm using the word discrimination in a broader context than, say, racial discrimination. I would call excluding things from people, such as prohibiting them from using drugs, to be discrimination. But this kind of discrimination, tries to serve a developmental purpose.

  • The issue is discriminating better and worse in the intrinsic characteristics of human beings. In the US, we have an old saying: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal...". That doesn't mean that we can't label actions, behaviors, or consequences of these as "better" or "worse", only that it's nonsense -- worse than nonsense, horrifying nonsense -- to try to apply these labels to humans beings apriori. – Dan Bron Nov 14 '18 at 21:47
  • @DanBron But there can be a case for it. In order to judge killing as immoral, one must in fact judge it as wrong, before killing can take place. One may be able to find other examples as well. – mavavilj Nov 14 '18 at 22:38
  • That’s an action, not a person. Try again. – Dan Bron Nov 14 '18 at 22:39
  • @DanBron Okay I see. So you argue that discrimination should not base on people's features a priori, but only consequences? – mavavilj Nov 14 '18 at 23:23
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    It’s a lot more complex than that, but we can take cues from law here, both common and civil, ancient and modern, and focus more on actions and intent of individual actors, as well as mitigating circumstances in specific instances, to make determinations. There’s a reason law developed this way, and is broadly maintained this way. And why there’s such an outcry when it fails to meet these standards (“innocent until proven guilty”). Of course what we’re applying discrimination for, and the consequences of such judgments on those judged, is an enormous consideration. – Dan Bron Nov 14 '18 at 23:26

That sounds like Social Darwinism and Eugenics. Lots of people were into using exactly the kind of arguments you are making right now.

After the holocaust, that barbarous crime against humanity, this sort of thinking was banned. There was a concerted campaign by newspapers, films and TV to change custom. It's all but been forgotten, though, that this thinking was as prevalent in the USA and in Europe and not just in Nazi Germany.

It's also this sort of thinking that was behind colonialism and slavery. They called it the 'white mans burden' and 'a civilising mission'. Some mission. Nice words to cover up a crime against humanity. Have a look at what is happening in the Congo by disrupting already existing patterns of politics.

A large part of the blame for the rise of this sort of talk can be placed at the door of the libertarian policy that social media giants took in building their business model whilst at the same time making traditional, investigative journalism almost untenable. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, is on record for saying he didn't care that people were publishing material on holocaust denial on his network: so long as he can make money from it I suppose.

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    I would call racism quite prevalent across the world to this day. Ironically, it is still considered "racism" instead of plain (and to some extent normal) xenophobia - based on ignorance. Scientifically, "race" turned out to be a shaky (read: without factual basis) concept at best. – Philip Klöcking Nov 14 '18 at 17:16
  • @Phillip Klocking: Very much so. As well as religious bigotry. A year ago I walked into a cafe here ran by some East Europeans and they were asking me some pointed but careful questions and I only slowly later realised that they were questioning my loyalty. I guess my beard made me look 'Islamic'. Seriously, now I think I should have given them hell over it. I was born in Britain, and if I have a critical stance, it's because Britain taught me that way. – Mozibur Ullah Nov 14 '18 at 17:37
  • @MoziburUllah I think you're exaggerating. One can realize discrimination based on reason as a form of "change my view", without having much to do with violence or racism or the sorts of thing. What I mean by discrimination is not as radical as you interpret, rather I was interested in gauging the "correct form" of discrimination. – mavavilj Nov 14 '18 at 17:58
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    @Mavavij: No, I'm not. And I could have said a hell of a lot more. You really need to check your history and I mean proper historians and not just a bunch of of guys who think because they have read a few history books they are historians. And please don't speak confused rubbish when you talk to me - I don't like it. Perhaps you don't think it sounds like rubbish because it's basically a bunch of dog-whistles to your base. Well, all I'll say is that if you try to cram in too many dog-whistle words in a sentence then you are going to sound like a dog. – Mozibur Ullah Nov 14 '18 at 19:39
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    @mavavilj What Mozibur is taking as obvious is: Whenever discrimination is allowed, even for the best of reasons, sooner or later someone is going to figure out a way to leverage it for the benefit of one group over another. – christo183 Nov 16 '18 at 14:15

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