Oh looky here – via Stephanie, another Callous Bastards’ Handbook, this time by “vjack” at Atheist Revolution. It’s better written and a little better thought than Vacula’s efforts in the same vein, but it’s still callous bastard bullshit.
You and you alone are responsible for how you feel. Nobody else can make you feel sad, angry, upset, or anything else without your agreement. I know we sometimes talk as if other people cause our feelings, but this is misleading.
If you insult me, I may experience feelings of sadness. My feelings are based on my understanding of our interaction and are guided by the whole of my personality and life experience. If I care what you think of me, I may feel sad; if I do not, I may not feel much of anything. It is not your insult that leads to my feelings; it is my interpretation of your insult, the meaning I assign to it, and the manner in which I put it in context. That is, how I feel following your insult is far more about me than it is about you.
You bet. Perfect for callous bastards. If I insult you, it’s just a thing that happens, like a rock falling down a slope. If you’re at the bottom of the slope, you may get a bruise, but that’s your decision.
vjack is part of the way there. He’s right (of course) that feelings about what other people say and do depend on context, and our feelings about them, and other variables that he conveniently leaves out. But we already knew that. He’s not right that because feelings about what others do and say are dependent in that way that therefore only the person who has the feelings has responsibility for them. Social life and interaction are webs, and responsibility goes in both directions. The fact that if person X is made of stone then she is able to feel nothing when vjack insults her does not mean that person Y has a responsibility to feel nothing if vjack insults her.
Some will object that taking responsibility for our feelings lets others off the hook, giving them a license to behave badly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just as we and we alone are responsible for our feelings, we and we alone are responsible for our behavior. Someone who behaves poorly is responsible for his or her poor behavior. The fact that we are responsible for our feelings in no way reduces the responsibility such an individual has for his or her own behavior.
If I call you a series of juvenile names on the Internet and you experience hurt feelings, you are responsible for how you feel and whether you take offense. But I am responsible for my behavior. Your responsibility for your feelings in no way gives me a pass to behave badly. It is nothing behind which I can hide. How you feel is on you, but how I have behaved is on me and nobody else.
That’s incoherent. If other people are responsible for their feelings, then in what sense is anyone behaving “poorly” aka badly by calling people names? In what does the badness reside? What is bad about calling people names?
He doesn’t explain that. He doesn’t seem to realize that it needs explaining. That’s Callous Bastards’ Handbooks for you – they achieve their callousness by ignoring obvious holes in their reasoning.
Stephanie included a screenshot of a different (yet similar) brand of callousness.
[Russell Blackford, responding on Facebook to a post by Lou Doench] Sorry, but I no have time for someone who whines about the so-called harassment of vicious bullies who vilify good people and destroy their reputations on a daily basis. The individuals this Doench person mentions as victims are exactly the ones who need to take the pledge. They and of course PZ Myers, who is the worst of all, as he’s called me a bold-faced liar and encouraged a forum where I can be called scum, a misogynist, etc., etc. Doench is part of the problem if he’s going to defend such people.
People like Doench need to understand that people like me are very angry for good reason. Every time I read something like this claptrap, I get that much angrier. Until I get an apology from Myers in particular, I will not let this drop.
Stephanie continues -
What was he responding to?
Yes, Blackford ranted about having no time for someone who would get angry at the people who harassed us because if people understood Blackford’s position, they would not lose their temper at harassers. Sorry, “so-called harassers”–because it’s all been so carefully hidden away where Blackford couldn’t possibly see it.
Feelings aren’t random, and we don’t have a responsibility to decide to have no feelings and then go on to have no feelings when people spend an astonishing amount of their time every single day harassing and taunting us.