Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

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Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #1

Post by Purple Knight »

Question for debate: Do you agree or disagree with the parable below as an accurate analogy for the cultural appropriation paradigm in modern western society?

Once upon a time there was a very bad child. This was not surprising, as she was never taught any better by her parents. She hit other children and even stabbed them. She bullied them and hurt them. When she turned 10, she was taught to hunt and kill other people. It was a common practice in her family, and indeed, for them it was the norm.

One day the girl started having misgivings about her behaviour. When she turned 11, she decided to turn her back on her family and learn to be a good person. She was not alone, and many children from her large family were doing the same. She stopped going to the family school and went to the public school instead, though there, there were many people who had been hurt by her and other members of her family.

The girl still played her old games and clung to her old toys. Even though many of them were designed to help a child develop killing skills, she didn't think it mattered since they were just toys. However, when the other children took offense to toys like the stabinator and Mister Fleshpeel, the girl happily discarded them as parts of her old life that were best forgotten, even though she really loved Mister Fleshpeel and he was more her imaginary friend than a doll.

The girl started playing with normal toys instead. She got a Barbie doll and a jump rope.

When the other children saw the girl playing with her Barbie doll and jump rope, they didn't like it. Her face was different than theirs and it upset them to see the face of one of the murder family using what were once symbols of innocence, happiness and peace.

The other children told the girl to get rid of the new toys. It was cultural appropriation, they said, and it was wrong for her to play with things invented by those her family had oppressed.

"But then I have nothing to play with," said the girl. She was trying to be good, but sometimes it felt like the other children were seeking to punish her for her old life, not help her be one of them.

The other children said she should stop stealing things from other cultures and use things from her own. They didn't quite seem to understand that she had got rid of those things precisely because her culture was, in itself, objectionable.

The girl grudgingly got rid of her jump rope and Barbie doll and just resigned herself not to have any toys. Most of the children were happy with that and stopped there, but a few were still very angry about everything the girl and her family had done, so when they saw she was really trying to change and would heed them, they made more demands. Do this, don't do that, no don't do that other thing after all. They corrected her at every turn because they knew that she knew that they were fitter to decide what was right, since they lived in a good culture all their lives.

Eventually the girl got sick of it and went back to her family, who loved her and told her that she didn't need to change, even when she did. They are evil, they want to hurt you, so that is why we hurt them first. After the girl's experience, the bald-faced lies of her parents made perfect sense. The girl forgot about trying to change and hunted people for sport again. When she died, she, like all her family, went to Hell, and all the good children went to Heaven because they really were entitled to punish her for her misdeeds, but that didn't make anyone's mortal life any better.


The fundamental premise of the tale is simply that cultural appropriation really is wrong, and it actually is the worst sort of stealing, but that it may nonetheless be advisable for the sake of harmony not to chastise anyone for it. (That is, if you really want harmony. If your goal is justice then obviously letting people do wrong is contrary to that.)

I don't expect there to be anyone on the forum who doesn't concede that cultural appropriation is wrong; I expect everyone to already accept that. Might it be necessary anyway?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #11

Post by Mithrae »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:38 pm It's hurtful to hear my beliefs only described as "professed" because I would fight for them, and I would die for them. If I could give my life for just one of the trillions of racial injustices against POCs to be undone, I would. I've even seriously considered killing myself because, just by existing, I do more every day, and "but, I didn't mean to" is kind of a hollow excuse. Every day, my first and last thought is, "How can I do more against racial injustices?" and my wife has said she's probably leaving me because of it. She asked me who I cared about more, her or black people, and I answered immediately, black people.
There've been people who have expressed similar sentiments about their favourite deity or band or TV show too, I suppose (actually had a bit of fun winding up a fellow at work talking about extremes of pop fandom last week, telling him that "we all know" it's just because they haven't found Jesus to fill that void :lol: ). So it's possible of course, but I trust you can understand why most folks' initial reaction to such claims would be sceptical. But taking it at face value, I'm reminded of the saying that you can't really love others until you learn to love yourself, and both marital problems and especially suicidal thoughts would be obvious red flags for seeking qualified counseling.
Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:38 pm
Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:15 pmFor the third time, a little girl apart from her family and surrounded by hostile peers does not represent dominance by any stretch of the imagination. Trying to argue that, technically, your caricature genetically remained a 'member' of a dominant group is playing semantics.
If there aren't white people in an individual situation of disadvantage (especially self-imposed disadvantage because they're trying to get away from that privilege and detach themselves from that power and dominance) who are still accused of privilege and appropriation because they are still members of a dominant group, then that's why it's an inaccurate parable and that's the end of it.
If we're talking about real people here - among the very few who think that all 'white culture' is inherently evil, the even fewer who've been criticized and abused as 'appropriators' for trying to divest themselves of that heritage and find some other space for themselves - I guess I'd advise them to get away from their abusers and find better people to associate with. You make a good point that there may well be some folk who find themselves in such a position, but obviously being born into an ethnic minority group doesn't automatically mean that someone understands what appropriation etc. are, and doesn't make the actions you're describing any less abusive. If you're interested in some psychological research which might be tangentially relevant, the Stanford prison experiment could be a good place to start, though it has its critics; the fundamental idea being that even in a kind of role play scenario where some are assigned superior roles to others (such as might be the case in some 'anti-racist' groups with mixed ethnicities) those power dynamics might end up having undue psychological influence on some folk in the group assigned a superior role, and vice versa. In the scenario you're describing, this could mean potentially causing some folk from marginalized groups to act in an abusive and racist manner very much like the unpleasant members of a dominant group in society at large or - perhaps more worryingly - potentially causing some of the assigned 'inferior' group to really internalize the ideas of that role-play rather than simply using it as a tool to help build understanding and empathy between equals with different life experiences.

More abstractly, a point which I skipped over in my initial response is the potentially blurry distinction between appropriation and appreciation mentioned in some of the top results from googling 'cultural appropriation.' I'm not particularly familiar with the subject, but looking at Elvis as an example apparently he grew up listening to and loving a lot of blues and gospel music by black artists so it was only natural for him to use the music he loved in his early auditions and develop his own style based on it. The controversy is that Presley made a fortune from that style of music when the black musicians who had pioneered and developed it did not: But rather than necessarily being appropriation (let alone deliberate appropriation) by Elvis, an case could be made that the real problem was that there was so little appreciation of 'black music' by mainstream listeners and radio stations. The kind of folk you are describing above would probably say that white people listening to and loving 'black music' is appropriation... but if they had their way all they'd be accomplishing is to hobble the efforts of great black artists like we were still in the 50s, and all but guarantee the occurrence of potentially real (if inadvertent) appropriation when those cultural treasures eventually make their way into the mainstream one way or another regardless.
Last edited by Mithrae on Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #12

Post by Purple Knight »

Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:03 pm
Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:38 pm It's hurtful to hear my beliefs only described as "professed" because I would fight for them, and I would die for them. If I could give my life for just one of the trillions of racial injustices against POCs to be undone, I would. I've even seriously considered killing myself because, just by existing, I do more every day, and "but, I didn't mean to" is kind of a hollow excuse. Every day, my first and last thought is, "How can I do more against racial injustices?" and my wife has said she's probably leaving me because of it. She asked me who I cared about more, her or black people, and I answered immediately, black people.
There've been people who have expressed similar sentiments about their favourite deity or band or TV show too, I suppose (actually had a bit of fun winding up a fellow at work talking about extremes of pop fandom last week, telling him that "we all know" it's just because they haven't found Jesus to fill that void :lol: ). So it's possible of course, but I trust you can understand why most folks' initial reaction to such claims would be sceptical.
No, really I don't. It would be like me telling any of the religiosos on this site, "Lol, you really don't believe that."

And because I'm not particularly good at insulting people politely, it would come out as exactly what it was.

I can tell you what I believe and I can be honest about it, but if you're going to doubt that, you must understand that I can't be expected to prove to you what's in my own head.
Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:03 pmIf we're talking about real people here - among the very few who think that all 'white culture' is inherently evil, the even fewer who've been criticized and abused as 'appropriators' for trying to divest themselves of that heritage and find some other space for themselves - I guess I'd advise them to get away from their abusers and find better people to associate with. You make a good point that there may well be some folk who find themselves in such a position, but obviously being born into an ethnic minority group doesn't automatically mean that someone understands what appropriation etc. are, and doesn't make the actions you're describing any less abusive.
My point (which got lost because I told the story so badly) was that the actions of most of the children weren't abusive at all; they were defensive. But that legitimate redress can very much feel like abuse, even if it isn't.

And furthermore they've got this person in their (effective) power because she wants to be good and has no idea what that is. So a few of them might say "scrub my floor" or "mutilate yourself" and if she legitimately didn't know what was legitimate redress and what wasn't, she'd have no way to know what went beyond legitimate redress and what didn't, so she's stuck between listening to them all and potentially being effectively abused, or refusing to listen to whatever seems unreasonable, in which case she may ignore legitimate obligations to redress.

One of the fundamental premises of white privilege (which I totally agree with) is that it's invisible to those who have it. Thus, racism is so insidious and hard to get rid of precisely because people don't know they're doing anything wrong. They can't see that they're doing anything wrong. So, when a white person takes it on themself to ignore their own thought patterns and trust that there is injustice they do not directly perceive, they put power over themselves in the hands of others. Now, in the real world, I haven't yet come across a suggested redress I would consider abusive. But if there were some redress that "went too far" I can't assume, given human nature, that no one would suggest it, call it right, and then the white person would be powerless to distinct it from something that was actually warranted by justice.

In the modern world, I would even say rape was justified as redress. After all, the white slaveowners raped their slaves. They raped them and then didn't leave, meaning there were rape victims who had to look at their unpunished attackers every day... So actually I would say rape doesn't go far enough. But perhaps there are people who think rape "goes too far" so if you do, I would give you this example.

https://nypost.com/2019/06/18/man-nabbe ... r-slavery/

I think he's a hero and I wish he had done more, but hypothetically, if it was "too far" how would a privileged white person know? Put in the position of already simply trusting that proposed redress is fair and just (because again, we can't see our privilege, so we can't see how much we have to do to make up for that) we would have no viable reason to dismiss it.

So when you see me suggesting a ridiculous scenario, please understand I'm an old sci-fi nerd so how things would work in that parallel universe is something I wonder about, and think about, even if it has only served to muddy real-world issues because, in the real world, no redress would be enough at this point, and there are really only good first steps. It used to be that you could discuss anything this way and what-ifs were not only cool, but also a good way to address real social problems.
Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:03 pm... but if they had their way all they'd be accomplishing is to hobble the efforts of great black artists like we were still in the 50s, and all but guarantee the occurrence of potentially real (if inadvertent) appropriation when those cultural treasures eventually make their way into the mainstream one way or another regardless.
That's the dilemma. And I have to admit, I've been avoiding eating ethnic foods just to be safe. It's been over a year since I quit soy sauce, and I think I'm literally sick without it. The taste of regular salt is vile to me. I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, they find out that soy sauce is some special kind of "healthy" sodium.

The best solution would be to make sure minorities make the money from the use of their culture and that it's not degraded, mocked, or misinterpreted in the process. But if that assurance has not been made, I would expect that the experts would say, don't partake.


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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #13

Post by Mithrae »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:51 pm
Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:03 pm There've been people who have expressed similar sentiments about their favourite deity or band or TV show too, I suppose (actually had a bit of fun winding up a fellow at work talking about extremes of pop fandom last week, telling him that "we all know" it's just because they haven't found Jesus to fill that void :lol: ). So it's possible of course, but I trust you can understand why most folks' initial reaction to such claims would be sceptical.
No, really I don't. It would be like me telling any of the religiosos on this site, "Lol, you really don't believe that."
Which sometimes seems to be the case. Just the other week a Christian was saying that their criteria for designating something as the 'word of God' are that it's given in the name of Yahweh and that it proves to be true, despite being shown and knowing that most of the bible doesn't proclaim itself the word of Yahweh and some parts (including some professing to be Yahweh's words) are demonstrably false... as well as not accepting some non-biblical things which are given in the name of Yahweh and not demonstrably false. For whatever reasons - to make a rhetorical point, deluding ourselves, getting backed into a corner and refusing to budge - probably all of us have at times been not entirely forthcoming about our actual views.
Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:51 pm In the modern world, I would even say rape was justified as redress. After all, the white slaveowners raped their slaves. They raped them and then didn't leave, meaning there were rape victims who had to look at their unpunished attackers every day... So actually I would say rape doesn't go far enough. But perhaps there are people who think rape "goes too far" so if you do, I would give you this example.

https://nypost.com/2019/06/18/man-nabbe ... r-slavery/

I think he's a hero and I wish he had done more...
And there goes that brief moment of thinking that maybe you might be sincere and worthy of further discussion :? I mean, I guess all things are possible like I said and maybe you really are that far gone - sincere or not I suppose you must be that far gone, one way or the other - but saying that a rapist is a "hero" and didn't even "go far enough" by battering and raping a woman is absolute bottom of the barrel trash as far as I can tell and certainly not worthy of further discussion. All I can suggest again, albeit with less sympathy now, is to seek qualified counseling for your own sake and those around you... whether you believe what you're writing or not.

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #14

Post by Purple Knight »

Mithrae wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:53 pmAnd there goes that brief moment of thinking that maybe you might be sincere and worthy of further discussion :? I mean, I guess all things are possible like I said and maybe you really are that far gone - sincere or not I suppose you must be that far gone, one way or the other - but saying that a rapist is a "hero" and didn't even "go far enough" by battering and raping a woman is absolute bottom of the barrel trash as far as I can tell and certainly not worthy of further discussion. All I can suggest again, albeit with less sympathy now, is to seek qualified counseling for your own sake and those around you... whether you believe what you're writing or not.
I'm glad you disagree with me. I'm glad you find that not everything is a fair reparative measure and some things do go to far.

I'm glad because I can ask you how you assess that exactly. Which things aren't enough? Which things indeed are too far? How do you tell?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #15

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:51 pm In the modern world, I would even say rape was justified as redress. After all, the white slaveowners raped their slaves. They raped them and then didn't leave, meaning there were rape victims who had to look at their unpunished attackers every day... So actually I would say rape doesn't go far enough. But perhaps there are people who think rape "goes too far" so if you do, I would give you this example.

https://nypost.com/2019/06/18/man-nabbe ... r-slavery/

I think he's a hero and I wish he had done more, but hypothetically, if it was "too far" how would a privileged white person know? Put in the position of already simply trusting that proposed redress is fair and just (because again, we can't see our privilege, so we can't see how much we have to do to make up for that) we would have no viable reason to dismiss it.
For clarification, who are you referring to as a "hero"? The black man, Temar Bishop, who assaulted and raped a white 20 year old woman? If so, why would he be considered a "hero"?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #16

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otseng wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:12 pmFor clarification, who are you referring to as a "hero"? The black man, Temar Bishop, who assaulted and raped a white 20 year old woman? If so, why would he be considered a "hero"?
Yes. He's a hero to me because he believed (and I agree with him) that his actions helped make reparation for slavery.

Taking money from someone is theft, and wrong, until they've done wrong and it's now a fine; a way to make right the wrong that happened, or to deter it from happening again.

Killing someone is murder, and wrong, until they've done wrong and it's now capital punishment, or even self-defence; a way to make right a wrong that happened, or in the case of self-defence to prevent a wrong in the process of happening.

Confining someone is kidnapping, and wrong, until they've done wrong and it's now imprisonment; a way to make right a wrong that happened or presumably protect others from this person's further wrongs.

The pattern I see is that if something helps make right a wrong, make up for a wrong, or prevent more wrongs, the bad word changes into some other word and it's no longer wrong to inflict it on someone. Why don't we have this for rape? If the wrong being repaired is big enough, we can kill people to help repair or prevent it, so why can't there be rape in the same way? Just change the word.

I could easily be wrong in my thinking but if so, I just need to be told so.

The previous addresses why his actions might be permissible. Now, as to why they might be necessary, I have always thought punishment was, ideally, a way of making up for the wrong in a way such that it was as if the wrong never happened. I think we can actually derive the validity of capital punishment (or the Biblical eye-for-an-eye) from this.

Let's say some man has ripped off the arms and legs of someone else and destroyed them. Now, if we could put his arms and legs onto her and they would work, who in their right mind would deny her his arms and legs? In that case, I would say most people would say, let his arms and legs be cut off, not because that's fair or right or good (it isn't) but to make whole the victim.

This is the formula for punishment, I think. We think of making the victim whole first and then disregard others as we do this, particularly the aggressor.

Now, let us say, the torso person has decided not to take the limbs from her attacker, or that something may go wrong with the process, or that some child without arms and legs is more important to her than herself. For whatever reason, she wants the limbs off her attacker and not onto herself. Should we deny her? Should we nitpick her reasons? Certainly she has the right to, after she receives the limbs, cut off limbs that are now her own and do whatever she wishes, so in my mind, we should not care what she wishes to do with them.

Now imagine a machine that can revive the dead, but only by sucking the life force out of one and replenishing that of another. Would we deny the victim of murder the murderer's life then, if it could save hers? We have established it as fair repayment. After that I see no reason to deny the attacker's life to her just because it so happens that it cannot bring her back.

In my mind, punishment is about making the victim whole, and even if we can't quite do that, it amounts to a crisis of circumstance and that doesn't mean we can't punish. It might still be right, if the victim doesn't want her attacker's life, to spare it, but in this particular case we have the victim, and he did want the violent reparative measure he actually took.

Will it make it as if slavery never happened? No, but I have to think that the inequality we see today as a result of slavery could be remedied. I'm not sure it could be remedied without rape, since rape is a part of what was inflicted on their Black ancestors.

We hear a lot of how the past can never be made up for fully and I think that's hogwash. Obviously if we took the white race and inflicted upon its members exactly what was inflicted on the ancestors of the Black race's members, there would no longer be anything to make up for. There would not be inequality as a result of one group being oppressed because both groups would have suffered the exact same oppression.

I thus think it's less about it being impossible to make up for the past and more a statement that a full reprisal would be distasteful, so we can't do it.

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #17

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:45 pm Yes. He's a hero to me because he believed (and I agree with him) that his actions helped make reparation for slavery.
Bishop could hardly be considered a "hero" in any sense of the word.
Taking money from someone is theft, and wrong, until they've done wrong and it's now a fine; a way to make right the wrong that happened, or to deter it from happening again.

Killing someone is murder, and wrong, until they've done wrong and it's now capital punishment, or even self-defence; a way to make right a wrong that happened, or in the case of self-defence to prevent a wrong in the process of happening.
I can sorta see what you're getting at (though I would not agree with it), but your logic does not apply to the Bishop case. The victim did not first assault or rape Bishop. So, it would not make the rape "fine".
The pattern I see is that if something helps make right a wrong, make up for a wrong, or prevent more wrongs, the bad word changes into some other word and it's no longer wrong to inflict it on someone.
I can sorta see that too. But again, it would not apply in this case. Bishop did not rape or assault with any intention of motivating others to change their behavior for the better.
Why don't we have this for rape?
In general, two wrongs do not make a right. So, rape would not be justification for making something right.
I could easily be wrong in my thinking but if so, I just need to be told so.
Yeah, you're wrong in your thinking. O:)

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #18

Post by Purple Knight »

otseng wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:17 pmYeah, you're wrong in your thinking. O:)
See, it's that easy. You cite individualism in all your points; the idea that penalising someone other than the exact individual who did something wrong is itself wrong. I'm not sure how we're supposed to make up for racial injustice then, since all the perpetrators are dead but the legacy of their ills lives on.

Do I get your point when I understand that any punishment that violates individualism would be wrong?

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #19

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:19 pm I'm not sure how we're supposed to make up for racial injustice then, since all the perpetrators are dead but the legacy of their ills lives on.
I'm not supportive of financial reparations, but I am supportive of reconciliation through admission of wrong and forgiveness. The PCA church officially made the below statement a few years ago. More should publicly confess and repent of their historical sins of racism.
Therefore be it resolved, that the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in
America does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical
sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial
sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race;
the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the
exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis
of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages
inter-racial marriage; the participation in and defense of white supremacist
organizations; and the failure to live out the gospel imperative that “love does no
wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10); and

Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly does recognize, confess, condemn and
repent of past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures in
accordance with what the Gospel requires, as well as failures to lovingly confront
our brothers and sisters concerning racial sins and personal bigotry, and failing to
“learn to do good, seek justice and correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17); and

Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly praises and recommits itself to the
gospel task of racial reconciliation, diligently seeking effective courses of action
to further that goal, with humility, sincerity and zeal, for the glory of God and the
furtherance of the Gospel; and

Be it further resolved, that the General Assembly urges the congregations and
presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America to make this resolution known
to their members in order that they may prayerfully confess their own racial sins
as led by the Spirit and strive towards racial reconciliation for the advancement of
the gospel, the love of Christ, and the glory of God; and

Be it further resolved, that the 44th General Assembly call the attention of churches and
presbyteries to the pastoral letter contained in Overture 55 as an example of how a
presbytery might provide shepherding leadership for its churches toward racial
reconciliation; and

Be it finally resolved, that the 44th General Assembly remind the churches and
presbyteries of the PCA that BCO 31-2 and 38-1 provide potent and readily available
means for dealing with ones who have sinned or continue to sin in these areas.
https://byfaithonline.com/wp-content/up ... -clean.pdf

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Re: Cultural Appropriation: Nasty but Necessary?

Post #20

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:19 pm Do I get your point when I understand that any punishment that violates individualism would be wrong?
I believe it's the violation of free will that is a major determinant if something is wrong.
otseng wrote: Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:09 am I believe an essential element in the determination of right and wrong is the involvement of free will. What would make something wrong is if someone's free will has been violated. If nobody's free will has been violated, then in all likelihood it won't be considered wrong. Of course, there are other factors that should be considered if something is right or wrong, but free will would be a primary consideration.

Outcome alone cannot be determining factor if something is ethically good or evil. It's possible for two scenarios to have the exact same outcome, but one situation would be wrong and another would be fine.

Some examples. Suppose Cathy gave me $100. Just by looking at this outcome, it's not possible to determine if it's right or wrong. Suppose she gave me the money freely because it was my birthday. She chose to gave me the money so it's ethically OK. However, suppose I held a gun to her head and said she needed to give me $100. It would be ethically wrong because I violated her free will.

Another example. If two people have sex, if both people consent to it, then it's ethically fine. However, if one person does not consent, then it's a violation of free will and it can be considered rape. Here, the outcome is the same, but the difference is the state of the free will. It is the violation of free will that can lead to the charge of rape.

In your example of the murder of a wife. The level of involvement of free will would determine the level of punishment. If someone planned for weeks on how to murder his wife, it would have a harsher punishment than if there was no plan at all and it was an accident. If the husband was determined to be mentally insane, he would have a less severe punishment because of a lack of a free will decision.

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