Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Other Values Trump Honesty

Thomas Edsall:
In their 2017 paper “Liars, Damned Liars, and Zealots: The Effect of Moral Mandates on Transgressive Advocacy Acceptance,” two psychologists at the University of Illinois, Allison B. Mueller and Linda J. Skitka, cite “transgressive advocacy” — which they define as “norm-violating means, i.e., lying, to achieve a preferred end” — as an critical aspect of contemporary political competition:

People’s perceptions of others’ transgressive advocacy were uniquely shaped by their moral convictions. Although honesty was positively valued by all respondents, transgressive advocacy that served a shared moral end was more accepted, and advocacy in the service of a non-preferred end was more condemned, regardless of its truth.
So if you want to know why people accept Trump, there it is: because they believe that cheating to win is not just ok but admirable when the stakes are high.


JustPeachy said...

Otherwise known as: "Ends justify means."

Did that require a whole paper?

karlG said...

"If the end doesn't justify the means, what does?" (attributed to either Robert Moses or Saul Alinsky)

G. Verloren said...


The means themselves do.

I could cheat at a game to win, but I value the means of playing fairly more than I value the ends of winning. You could argue that the satisfaction I gain from playing fairly is an end in and of itself, but that's splitting hairs and beind pedantic.