Questioning Motives

Ace of Spades on internet personas:

Human beings’ motivations are very opaque to themselves. People tend to think of themselves — at least in their public, performative Online Theatrical presentation of themselves — as so highly morally refined as to be above all self-serving behavior. They think of themselves — or at least talk as if they think of themselves — as nearly entirely selfless individuals, concerned only for the public good, whether that be equality in the case of progressives or the American patriotic interest in the case of conservatives…

They love questioning other people’s motives — and yet never get around to questioning their own.

One question they might want to ask themselves some time is “Why is it I keep attempting to impose rules on others I have excused myself from following?”

They might blunder on to the truth, that every human is soaking wet with self-interest, and routinely invents “rules” to hamper an opponent while yielding himself an advantage.

Hence Saul Alinsky’s famous dictum “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules”, or the more colloquial, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Ace brings this up in the context of people flipping out over Trump’s quip that he hoped the Russians shared more of the Democrats’ hacked e-mails, as if they never hoped damage on their political enemies.

While it is technically bad that the Russians (or whoever) are hacking into the DNC (and probably Hillary’s home server), I too hope they share more e-mails. And if they’ve hacked the Democrats they probably have the GOP’s, publish those. Share them all. The damage is done, why not peel back the whole facade and show us just what sort of imbeciles have been presuming to run our lives for us.


  1. It is interesting to question motivation- sometimes of vital importance. And so let me put something to you: is it not troubling when people try to justify something like slave labour? Is there not something primordially wrong with any ideology whose objective is to promote a caste system?

    1. It isn’t always wrong to question motives, a good example was when Orwell questioned the motives of the British hard-left which was pacifist at the start of WWII and became pro-war when the Soviets joined the allies.
      Questioning motives shouldn’t be a tactic to avoid dealing with difficult arguments, and it shouldn’t be done without some introspection.

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