can one's beliefs be held apart for from one's achievements?

Bill Pengelly

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Oct 16, 2011
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If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
George Washington

i agree with this statement but George Washington was racist dose that make me racist? i don't think it dose. i feel that what a person creates should be held apart from what that person beliefs unless it reflects that belief. all this is a kinder round about way of saying that even if a person who makes a good game is a racist or a homophobe the game should not punished for what its creator thinks especially if the game isn't racist of homophobic.
 

MASTACHIEFPWN

Will fight you and lose
Mar 27, 2010
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Just because you agree with someone on one point doesn't mean you have to agree with them on every point.
 

gamernerdtg2

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Context can help. I imagine GW was speaking about freedom of speech in reference to his former government.

Your ideologies can indeed show up in your work, albeit subconsciously. So while GW may have been referring to England, he may NOT have been referring the slaves he owned. It's very possible that he was being hypocritical.

The racist thing in the US is a very twisted and unresolved issue that people on both sides need to be talking about.
 

HardkorSB

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Bill Pengelly said:
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
George Washington

i agree with this statement but George Washington was racist dose that make me racist? i don't think it dose. i feel that what a person creates should be held apart from what that person beliefs unless it reflects that belief. all this is a kinder round about way of saying that even if a person who makes a good game is a racist or a homophobe the game should not punished for what its creator thinks especially if the game isn't racist of homophobic.
Here's an example:
I think that Guns 'n' Roses are horrible people (racists, among other things) but I still enjoy listening to some of their music. The things that I don't like about them aren't really present in their music.
I wouldn't however buy their albums or go to their concerts because I don't want to give money to these kind of people (does the band even exist anymore?)

Also, you're not really agreeing with Washington's ideology, just with this particular statement.
Just because someone is right about one thing, doesn't mean he can't be wrong about others.
I haven't met or heard of a single person I would agree with about everything.
 

Jux

Donald Trump is a racist
Sep 2, 2012
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Kaulen Fuhs said:
Just think about anything Dickens wrote. Is he a dick?
Can't spell Dickens without dick, so I'm gonna go ahead and say yes, he was a dick. ;D
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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This is about the Orson Scott Card thing isn't it?

One can acknowledge the quality of a work produced by a shit of a person while still refusing to have anything to do with that work because it smells faintly of shit.

There's also the factor of not wishing to contribute to a shitty person's financial gain by buying their works, regardless of the quality of those works.

Personally, I think I'd rather just not know anything about the person. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

EDIT: There's also a difference between a person who's alive and active and a person who's been dead for decades or centuries. It's kind of hard to be angry at someone who's dead and done with.
 

Hero of Lime

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Jun 3, 2013
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Yes, I believe that just cause a person thinks one way, doesn't mean their achievements should be completely void. The person in question would have to be serial killer/rapist or Hitler status for me to outright disregard their works or achievements. I say it's all about balance, if an artist or celebrity of any kind doesn't share your world view, flat out denying their works and positives feels wrong to me even if I'm really against what they stand for.

People will think differently than you, that's just a fact of life we all have to deal with, you can choose to support or condemn anyone you wish, I just won't do it personally. That's probably why I try to separate people's professional and personal lives and beliefs in general.

Going to the George Washington example, I think the man not only had so many brilliant ideas, but actually had a life full of huge achievements. His slave ownership is an awful fact that shouldn't be hidden, or excused, but considering everything else he did, I would have a hard time calling him a historical villain.
 

Cecilo

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Hero of Lime said:
Yes, I believe that just cause a person thinks one way, doesn't mean their achievements should be completely void. The person in question would have to be serial killer/rapist or Hitler status for me to outright disregard their works or achievements. I say it's all about balance, if an artist or celebrity of any kind doesn't share your world view, flat out denying their works and positives feels wrong to me even if I'm really against what they stand for.

People will think differently than you, that's just a fact of life we all have to deal with, you can choose to support or condemn anyone you wish, I just won't do it personally. That's probably why I try to separate people's professional and personal lives and beliefs in general.

Going to the George Washington example, I think the man not only had so many brilliant ideas, but actually had a life full of huge achievements. His slave ownership is an awful fact that shouldn't be hidden, or excused, but considering everything else he did, I would have a hard time calling him a historical villain.
I don't know.. if a serial killer/rapist invented a way for humanity to travel and colonize the stars, I would be pretty inclined to honor his/her achievement. Because that would just change humanity so totally, granted I wouldn't just pardon his/her crimes, but still, space travel.
 

Altorin

Jack of No Trades
May 16, 2008
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objectively? probably.. give enough time to enough great ideas and people will largely forget the part in your life when you were less then wonderful.

If this is just an attempt to reframe the Orson Scott Card debate though, I'd wager the difference is mainly time - the examples cited around here are examples of long-dead men who lived in backwards times where sensibilities were far different then they are today.

It's the century of the fruitbat for crying out loud.
 

EyeReaper

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Aug 17, 2011
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I think you can, for example, you can say hitler was a great leader, does that mean you agree with that whole genocide thing? no. Or you could say Chris Brown makes good music (you'd be wrong, but you could) but that doesn't mean you'd support punching women in the face? i don't think so.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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This is a question I've always batted around in my head.

If a man sodomized little children all of his life, then... say... intentionally flew his fighter jet into a bomber that was about to drop a nuke on a town to blow it up... is he a good guy? My gut says no, but he could have flew off and saved himself. He did not have to give up his life. He could have escaped. But he chose the way he knew would save the town at the cost of his life. Is that worth more than the dozens of lives he ruined?

It's a hard question, so I tend to try to look at the reverberations of the polices that will echo in humanity's time line. Those dozens of lives are valuable, sacred, and should have never been ruined. I could never forgive that. I can be glad the town is saved. I can acknowledge his role. Hell, I can even admit it out loud what he did. But an evil man doing one (massively) good thing does not erase how he chose to live his life.

He chose to do one great thing with his life. Thousands will live because of it. He has affected humanity in a positive way with his action. But he's still an evil man. I can't logically weigh dozens to thousands of lives, but that's the morality of good and evil. It is arbitrary.

If a man was a saint all of his life, and then one day lost it and beat a woman, is he still a saint? Even in this example, morality that we were all taught makes me want to revile the guy, but then the 'we're all human' factor kicks in. I don't forgive him for beating a woman, and I might not even like him personally after finding out about it, but I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I might be willingly to listen to him on why it happened.

If he was drunk, high, out of his mind with grief, something that vastly separated himself from his normal beliefs and functions that made him do such an act, I could possibly start to try to understand better. But even typing that, my mind is saying 'Bullshit'. But I want to believe what I typed because I know I'm human. And while I can revile the idea of every hurting someone, especially a woman, I know I have my own limitations that someone can try very damn hard to cross.

And I think that's at the crux of the matter. The 'Human' Measurement. How much can you willingly put aside because it's human nature to make mistakes. There's a tipping point from 'Only Human' to 'This guy's kind of a dick' and it just falls from that point on.

And what makes this so hard is that is a Measurement that's different for every human being. What might still be in the 'Oh, he's only human, he'll make mistakes' category for you might have been past the 'dick' phase for me, and going straight to 'Despicable'. Until we all develop the Hivemind the governments have been working on, it's going to make us split on how much we can hold someone's achievements away from how they lived their lives.
 

KeyMaster45

Gone Gonzo
Jun 16, 2008
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ObsidianJones said:

Well said, well said.

Though I would say, as pertains to your first example, that the moment of sacrifice show's that the man's life is not to be reviled; if anything it should be pitied. The man did unquestionably abhorrent things, yes, but his last act of sacrifice proves him to not be the soulless husk of evil that we are so quick to label him as. I would argue that it amplifies that this was an ill, pitiable person who became trapped by a sickness they and society were ill-equipped to deal with. That buried somewhere within his malformed psyche sat the last spark of goodness and humanity that refused to give in. He may have struggled his entire life to rekindle that spark and dispel the despicable urges and thoughts he could not control. Yet it was only in his final moments that he ever succeeded.

I would propose then that yes he be given the status of hero he duly earned, but that the life he lead prior to that be seen as the sad tale of a man and his victims who both fought against himself to no avail; not as a legacy of evil that outshines the act of sacrifice which saved thousands.

As for the whole douchebag author of Ender's Game it should be noted that he is more than likely not making royalties off the movie but an annual holding fee from the studio who licensed the movie rights to the books, so that he doesn't go and sell them to a competitor instead.(more than likely he's been receiving this check for years and would continue to do so without the movie being made) The only people you hurt by not going to see the film are everyone who isn't the author that worked on the film.
 

Jegsimmons

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Bill Pengelly said:
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
George Washington

i agree with this statement but George Washington was racist dose that make me racist? i don't think it dose. i feel that what a person creates should be held apart from what that person beliefs unless it reflects that belief. all this is a kinder round about way of saying that even if a person who makes a good game is a racist or a homophobe the game should not punished for what its creator thinks especially if the game isn't racist of homophobic.
He was a racist?

uhm, maby because that was the social norm.

you're asking about the ethic of people 250 years ago?

what the hell is the point of this thread?
 

oktalist

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ObsidianJones said:
If a man sodomized little children all of his life, then... say... intentionally flew his fighter jet into a bomber that was about to drop a nuke on a town to blow it up... is he a good guy? My gut says no, but he could have flew off and saved himself. He did not have to give up his life. He could have escaped. But he chose the way he knew would save the town at the cost of his life. Is that worth more than the dozens of lives he ruined?
Demonstrates there is no such thing as good people and bad people, just good acts and bad acts.

OT: Arthur Conan Doyle believed in psychics and fairies, and Isaac Newton spent the greater portion of his life studying the occult, alchemy, numerology, doomsday prophecy, etc. so yes, it does appear the one's beliefs can be held apart from one's achievements.
 

Sandernista

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Zhukov said:
This is about the Orson Scott Card thing isn't it?
What I find so weird about Card is how the morality he portrays as correct in his books does not match up with the morality he preaches in his articles and in interviews.

Before I had ever heard of the man, aside from his name on the cover of some of my books, I had based my entire ethical system off of Speaker for the dead. I still believe in many of the ethical concepts present in the book, and yet it was written by a dude who is just plain mean!
 

2012 Wont Happen

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ObsidianJones said:
If he was drunk, high, out of his mind with grief, something that vastly separated himself from his normal beliefs and functions that made him do such an act
I've been pretty drunk, high, and out of my mind with grief at the same time after a chick I'd been dating dumped me two days after she let me spend the rest of my savings to buy her something. The way I see it, she knew she was gonna end it because nothing changed in those two days. She essentially robbed me. I still didn't hit her.

Those things aren't excuses is what I'm getting at.
 

Lieju

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Jan 4, 2009
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I can enjoy the work of someone who is a horrible person or had beliefs I disagree with.

I'm a fan or Lovecraft's work, but I can ignore his more racist views as a part of the times or as the opinions of the characters, or interpret them in different ways.

He might have been thinking of interracial human couples when he wrote stories about the horror of humans breeding with subhuman creatures and horrors, but it's easy for me not to think of ape-men and aliens as stand-ins for black people.

But if Lovecraft still lived, I wouldn't support his work, because I wouldn't want to give my money to him.
 

DeeWiz

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Aug 25, 2010
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Works can easily stand on their own without their creator. Do you have to know who Da Vinci is to appreciation his work, no. Think of how many narcissistic, drug addled artists there have been who have created great works. Works of art and literature are designed to be better than we could ever hope to be.

Humans never really can stand up as examples because the reality is no one is entirely "good" or entirely "bad" we are all a mix of the two. "Good" and "Bad" in and of themselves are terms relative to their societal morals of their environment. You can say "All men are created equal" in a time of slavery because slaves where not recognized as human back then. But the truth of the words remain, just had had to redefine who falls under the definition of "men" to includ all humanity.