Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group?

by adamzerner 1 min read16th Feb 201664 comments


This sort of thinking seems bad:

me.INTRINSIC_WORTH = 99999999; No matter what I do, this fixed property will remain constant.

This sort of thinking seems socially frowned upon, but accurate:

a.impactOnSociety(time) > b.impactOnSociety(time)

a.qualityOfCharacter > b.qualityOfCharacter // determined by things like altruism, grit, courage, self awareness...

Similar points could be made by replacing a/b with [group of people]. I think it's terrible to say something like:

This race is inherently better than that race. I refuse to change my mind, regardless of the evidence brought before me.

But to me, it doesn't seem wrong to say something like:

Based on what I've seen, I think that the median member of Group A has a higher qualityOfCharacter than the median member of Group B. I don't think there's anything inherently better about Group A. It's just based on what I've observed. If presented with enough evidence, I will change my mind.

Credit and accountability seem like good things to me, and so I want to live in a world where people/groups receive credit for good qualities, and are held accountable for bad qualities.

I'm not sure though. I could see that there are unintended consequences of such a world. For example, such "score keeping" could lead to contentiousness. And perhaps it's just something that we as a society (to generalize) can't handle, and thus shouldn't keep score.