13 Responses to Moral engagement: Introduction

  1. Gold Dust Twin says:

    When I read about moral disengagement, I kept thinking of my father, wondering how he justified his treatment of his children, his incestuous behavior with his daughters, his brutality toward his son. The son and one of the daughters were scarred for life

  2. Margo Bendery says:

    Life is not fair, we are all specks of sand on a beach but if each of us would pick just one thing in the world around us to try to fix, it would change the world. It would give each of us a point & I know I am ever & always trying to figure out what my point is.

  3. kathie mm says:

    Thank you for your comment, Gold Dust Twin. You are right on target with your connection between child abuse and moral disengagement. It is likely that child abusers use many of the moral disengagement mechanisms. We know that incestuous fathers often use psuedo moral justifications for their behavior-claiming, for example that they want to help prepare their daughters for later intimacy with a husband. Moreover, it is certainly likely that they minimize the consequences of their behavior. Some incestuous fathers even displace responsibility for their behavior onto their victims, calling them sluts and accusing them of being flirts, temptresses, etc.

    Thank you for your courage in sharing your story.

  4. kathie mm says:

    Margo, your suggestion that everyone pick just one thing in the world around us to try to fix is a great one. I believe you are absolutely right that it would change the world. I think people have known that principle for a long time; isn’t it likely that such a belief underlies the idea of New Year’s resolutions? The trick is to act upon the belief and not get discouraged by the cynics.

  5. Beth Balaban says:

    I think you might enjoy this link, it’s related to this article. It features Palestinians walking in the footsteps of Ghandi, practicing non-violent protest for change:
    http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/07/30/opinion/1247468533917/waiting-for-gandhi.html?ref=nicholasdkristof

  6. Gold Dust Twin says:

    Sibling rivalry was a constant during my childhood. When I heard of the Golden Rule, I turned it on its head. Okay, Sis, you just gave me a shove. You must be doing what you would be done by, so here’s a bigger shove right back. I thought my Topsy-Turvy Rule was brilliant. Clearly, I was no budding Mother Theresa, but when I grew up, she was my hero, and I discovered my sister was my best friend.

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  11. Ethan says:

    This is a good counter to Moral Disengagement. The next step would be to consider ways of propagating this good behavior. Aristotle would postulate that, in order to become moral, one must be temperate and practice acting morally. Grussendorf has research that would support this notion, as well as emphasize the importance of education about moral disengagement mechanisms; education that relies on experience. One of his supported methods of this is termed “psychological inoculation.”

    In his article, titled “Resisting Moral Disengagment in Supoort of War,” he discussed two mediums in which psychological inoculation had been shown to work: peer pressure to smoke cigarettes and it has been shown to influence political opinions and behaviors. These arguments come from other research, but he speculates that this method may generalize to the influence of public opinion toward violence and war, through allowing the public to resist the government’s presentation of morally disengaging tactics.

    I tend to support this notion. I think education can be a huge factor in the change of violent acts and the propagation of peace or avoidance of war. Although, Grussendorf’s research was inconclusive, I think there are a few things that could be tweaked to produce more decisive results. Education of legitimate statistics to the general public has been shown to put a stopper on alcohol abuse amongst teenagers, why wouldn’t this attempt work (through the education of negative outcomes of war), as well? At the very least, any attempt toward peace cannot be considered negative.

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