Does women’s morality differ from men’s?

Clive Hamilton writes:

Women’s morality differs from men’s. Feminist philosopher Carol Gilligan argues women are motivated more by care than duty, and inclined more to emphasise responsibilities than rights. They seek reconciliation through the exercise of compassion and negotiation rather than demanding "justice", through force if necessary.

While the idea has widespread appeal, empirical research has failed to find large differences in the way men and women think about morality. Psychologist Janet Shibley Hyde argues that a "consequence of his overinflated claim of gender differences is that it reifies the stereotype of women as caring and nurturant and men as lacking in nurturance" (pdf). Research suggests that women who violate the stereoptype of being caring nurturant can find themselves penalised in the workplace.

American psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that there is much more to morality than concerns about care and justice. He lists five sets of moral intuitions: Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity, Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity (pdf). According to Haidt and his colleagues, some of the biggest differences in how people think about moral issues are between liberals and conservatives rather than between men and women.

(Hat tip: Mindy at Hoyden About Town).

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39 Responses to Does women’s morality differ from men’s?

  1. conrad says:

    I agree with you — there’s so much crap in psychology looking at differences between men and women it’s crazy, and everytime somebody finds a difference (usually thanks to random variation in sampling and the fact that differences get published and lack-of-differences don’t), it’s “wow, look at the difference”, even when the effect size is puny and when the effect being examined has little validity. Even when that isn’t the case, and the effect might be worth looking at, it’s usually impossible to tell what caused it anyway. So you get a great big taxonomy (with huge amounts of sampling error due to publishing biases), relevant for one and only one particular point in time, and the public loves it.

    As for Clive Hamilton, I find his claims bizarre — any quick scan of history will show that it’s pretty clear that women can fight quite effectively. Indeed, it’s probably easier today than any other time in history to fight on the front line, since things like phyiscal capabilities are not so important when you can just shoot someone with a gun that weighs a few hundred grams.

  2. Sally says:

    “Indeed, it’s probably easier today than any other time in history to fight on the front line, since things like phyiscal capabilities are not so important when you can just shoot someone with a gun that weighs a few hundred grams.”

    Except all of human history has shown that women in general are much less likely to want to kill someone for what ever reason regardless of how easy it may be to do so technologically.

  3. Tel says:

    … since things like phyiscal capabilities are not so important when you can just shoot someone with a gun …

    This of course applies equally well to children. Anyhow, tech war has moved past the need to have lots of people on the front line. When you look at a mobile phone you think it’s a darn convenient little gadget. When I look at one (often from the inside) I see that the age of the rifle and machine gun is slowly coming to an end (and to me that’s a bad thing).

    … women in general are much less likely to want to kill someone …

    As if the men in the trenches at the Battle of the Somme were there because they wanted to kill someone. Sheesh.

  4. conrad says:

    Unless the amount of women willing to kill others even after training is zero, I don’t suppose that argument matters much. Of course, that can’t be correct, because there are already women in roles where they have to kill people, it’s just they are restricted from a small number of roles (unlike other armies in the world).

  5. conrad says:

    Sorry, that comment was obviously directed at #2, not #3.

  6. Peter says:

    Conrad, you simply don’t have a clue. Or you are corrupted. Probably both.

  7. conrad says:

    Thanks for that Peter, I’ve learnt a lot from what you said (presumably that you don’t like real data). As it happens, I basically agree almost entirely with Shibley, except that I think she is actually too nice on interpreting meta-analyses, since big effects are always easier to get published, so my position is there are even less differences than she thinks there is, which means I think there arn’t many differences.

  8. Peter says:

    Yes, that’s obvious, Conrad, and why I commented the way I did. I repeat it.

    Are you a robot, perchance?

  9. Ken Parish says:

    Any further bald abuse from Peter will be deleted. His comments make no contribution to meaningful discussion. We’re tending to adopt a fairly light-touch approach to moderation of abuse these days, but only when it is part of a dialogue involving something vaguely resembling a substantive contribution. Simply launching into abuse of another contributor from the outset without any attempt at a real contribution yourself will not be tolerated.

  10. Paul Frijters says:

    conrad, don,

    I find lots of gender differences in my lines of research, passing conventional statistical and economic significance with ease. Men are for instance more competitive almost any way you care to measure that. They are less risk-averse, less happy, less healthy, etc. Plenty of differences. So I am in principle quite open to the idea that there would also be big differences in the way genders handle morality. I suspect that most political scientists who dont find much difference dont look at it the right way, i.e. that most of them are stuck in terms of their favourite dichotomies rather than newer ones arising from more basic psychological differences. From how the neuroscientists are looking at gender differences, perchance more fruitful dichotomies would involve spatial awareness, or direct/abstract distinctions. Any research you knoow of in that direction?

  11. conrad says:

    “Plenty of differences.”

    Sure, but what does the difference in the two distributions look like, and how does that manifest itself in actual behavior? For example, with your health example, it’s well known that men die faster than women for numerous reasons, many of which are well understood (such as purely genetic differences (lots of nasty diseases), somewhat genetic (e.g., risk taking, mental disease), and possibly genetic (e.g., some things to do with heart disease)), but overall the life expectancy difference is only a few years, and a lot of the behaviour differences are really in what I’ll call the left tail of life success (i.e., people at the bottom, people doing crime, etc.). Some are are also in the right tail (e.g., propensity to start new businesses, make money, etc.), but I assume a lot of those differences are on their way out anyway thanks to socialization differences between now and 40 years ago. So there is still great overlap.

    There’s lots of neuroscience literature on gender differences, but I think it’s even worse than the behavioral stuff (and that’s coming someone that has run quite a few cognitive neuroscience studies, so I think I’m a much more reasonable judge than many people who just want to impress others with the pretty pictures you get from this work to get their next grant). The main problem with the neuroscience of cognitive functions is that it almost never tells us anything we didn’t know from simple button pressing, almost all of the explanations are post-hoc based on data which has no simple interpretation even if dressed up to look like they are apriori (e.g., fMRI data — 90% of which is analyzed with simple additive factors logic — i.e., subtract the activation from one task from another), limited samples are used, and very few people ever bother to deconfound learning with actual biological differences. A good example of this in terms of everybody’s most favourite useless task is mental rotation, which is part of many visual-spatial processing tests. If you do an fMRI on this you find quite reasonable differences between men and women. However, as it turns out, the reason for the difference is that women tend to do the rotation using the bits of an object and men do it with the whole object. But you can just train women to do it with the whole object, and they’ll look just like men (and vice versa). Why this difference exists in the first place I don’t know, but it isn’t really telling us anything thrilling about behavior.

    However, if you really want to learn about neuroscience, morality, and why there really are far less differences than people think, you could certainly do worse than read some of the work Cordelia Fine as her books, which are well worth a flip through if you are interested, as they basically intersect hard science and popular science, so it’s fairly accessable (She currently works at Melbourne and you can see some of her stuff: here. The delusions of gender book is the one worth looking at in terms of this discussion.

  12. KB Keynes says:

    Don,
    This is surely another example of Haidt speech!
    you have a Hyde

  13. Yobbo says:

    The major issue with women in combat has little do with women, and more to do with the fact that men go crazy and forget their training when they see a woman in trouble.

  14. paul frijters says:

    conrad,

    sure, the differences are not a simple as a mean-shift in the distributions. But there are differences, both in the averages and in the tails. Where the differences come from is another question again, but there is value in noting that the differences are there and that they are not small.

  15. Peter Patton says:

    Citing Gilligan as an authority? In 2011? Oh dear. Next, he’ll be telling us that 10% of the population are gay.

  16. Peter Patton says:

    Why is no much crap produced in university Social Psychology and Education departments. At least the former can use ANOVA tables I suppose – and boy, don’t they use, and use, and use those fricking ANOVA tables. As for the Education crowd, flat out with their 3 X tables.

  17. Peter Patton says:

    Well if even our Federal Court judges can defer to stats from sources like the Australian Reform Commission – which have 3/5ths of sweet FA to do with the matter he is supposing adjudicating – and its 99.9% and 95% criteria to shoot down any uppity newspaper hack who dares point out that one thing we are all born with is a genetic inheritance:

    Human beings are 99.9 per cent genetically identical. Some 95 per cent of human genetic variation occurs within racial groups whereas, on average, a genetic variation of five per cent occurs between racial groups

    Ah yes, while the old standard deviation might be the social psychologist’s hammer and sickle, to the Brogman’s and Hamilton’s they’re just, like, really, ginormous numbers, so close that we are all basically the same person. Only racists call you by your name correctly. Clearly they are obsessed with racial differences. No Clive and Mordy, it is called being able to see, being able to hear, having a pulse.

  18. conrad says:

    “But there are differences, both in the averages and in the tails”

    Paul I don’t deny that — I guess this is a bit of a half full vs. half empty question — but for the sort of question which the post was about, I don’t see this as being especially relevant (especially for things like morality, where a lot of the differences are presumably due to socialization). For example, there are pretty reasonable differences between ethnic groups on various variables — in terms of cognitive differences, far bigger than males vs. females. Other variables that differ across groups, which are presumably at least partially biologically driven, are things like crime rates (basically, East Asians have very low levels of it and whites are mixed, although most people in most cultures don’t commit crime). But even with these differences, I don’t see anyone going around saying things like:”East Asians shouldn’t fight because they’re obviously smaller, not as aggressive, and have lower levels of testosterone early in their lives than other groups. It would be cruel to send them to war, and they just couldn’t hack it, unlike those big tough agressive white people”. To me this is not dissimilar to claims that Clive Hamilton is making.

  19. Mike Pepperday says:

    Really, Conrad, you don’t have to go measuring tails…

    Morality difference between men and women? Crime around the world is enormously male – 8 to 10 times the crime rate, maybe higher for violent crimes. Surely that settles the matter.

    Is competitiveness a morality issue? Would we say it’s more moral to cooperate than compete? If so, women are more moral. How many female chess champions are there? How many prominent female neo-cons are there? (Rand, Coulter – anyone else?) What proportion of game theorists are female compared with, say, female psychologists? For that matter, how many female economists are there?

    Is risk-taking a morality issue? The differences are stark. Which sex does the most speeding? Who rides skateboards? You don’t need any academic experiment. But wait, Paul. Women of all cultures enthusiastically want babies – and that’s very risky. Everywhere and forever they want to marry and become their husband’s chattel with a high risk of abuse and even death. Now which is more moral: take risks speeding or take risks having babies?

    To Ken at #10: Hear, hear!

  20. conrad says:

    “Morality difference between men and women? Crime around the world is enormously male – 8 to 10 times the crime rate, maybe higher for violent crimes. Surely that settles the matter. ”

    No it doesn’t, because 99% of people don’t do crime (or whatever the number is). What it shows is that there is a difference in the left tail, and the same is true of basically all of your examples. Why not compare things like: who votes for the different parties? Not many differences. What about issues? Not many difference either. That even includes moral issues that you might think would decisively split the genders, like abortion. Curiously this issue doesn’t (and I can’t think of one that would be more polarizing) — in the US there are bigger divisions along party lines. If you want to get a good idea of whether moral issues differ across genders (or any other groups), then what you need to think about is the last 200 people you met leading average lives in suburbia.

  21. Mike Pepperday says:

    Conrad –

    So a larger proportion of men belong to the criminal classes? Are you saying the average man is no more likely to do something dodgy than the average woman? Do you really believe it? Think of speeding, for example.

    “…a difference in the left tail, and the same is true of basically all of your examples.” Skate boarding, academic field, and having babies is not in any tail. Game theory experimentation finds a rationality difference of a whole standard deviation between the sexes. Women are more cooperative. (That’s game-theory code for less rational.) We heard on Q&A tonight how 4% of CEOs are psychopaths. I wonder which sex they are?

    You ask how the sexes vote. Women vote more left. And male politicians with daughters tend to vote more left (confirmed in different countries I believe). Men are socialised by women (and by work and war). Issues? Women’s eyes dilate at the picture of a baby; men’s dilate at pornography. Which is more moral?

    The dimorphism alone – men bigger and more muscled – indicates a difference in behaviour (i.e., males fight over females) with roots going back millions of years, long before we became human. Historically, rape and pillage (by men, you know) was always a big part of the attraction of campaigning. Why any woman wants to do it is a bit of a puzzle. Probably some symptom of the departure from reality of modern life. Will they want to visit brothels, too? Mixing the sexes in the armed forces has given rise to scandal after scandal and in each case the outrage is perpetrated by – oh dear – men.

    Abortion, Conrad? We are talking about morality. Which side of the American abortion debate do you think is more moral?

  22. Patrick says:

    I’ve never heard of a prominent neo-con called Rand, male or female?

  23. conrad says:

    Mike,

    I’m not saying there are no differences, I’m just saying that if I walked around my rather suburban neihborhood and questioned everyone I could, I wouldn’t find many differences in attitudes (or cognitive ability), and those differences that I did find wouldn’t be very big, and then one further chain of inference down the line, wouldn’t lead to much difference in behavior. It’s also the case that even when there are behavioral differences, bigger differences in behavior will be found in other domains.

    It’s also pointless talking about sociopaths, because I’ve already admitted, yes, there are differences in the prevelance of different mental diseases across males and females. But almost no-one is a sociopath so you are talking about a tiny speck of the population. In addition, the difference in political opinions are tiny — In fact, I can’t think of a single major political issue where the genders are truly split, split by a big amount, and have remained so for any amount of time. Even those I thought might be split are not. Can you think of any? Also, you need to check your stats on who is looking at pictures that I won’t mention for fear of hitting the spam bin, since you’ll find the gender split that once existed is now almost gone.

    Also, a bit off the topic, but if you’re interested in academic ability and whether it is socialization or biology that causes differences in extreme ability in things like mathematics, then there is a good debate between Pinker & Spelke on theedge.org.

    “The dimorphism alone – men bigger and more muscled – indicates a difference in behaviour (i.e., males fight over females) with roots going back millions of years, long before we became human”

    True, but we also grew frontal lobes.

  24. Steve says:

    Small, light-hearted diversion:

    The discussion of morality / tendency towards violence differences between the sexes often makes me think of this bit from The Life of Brian,

    The stoning by women in fake beards:

  25. Pedro says:

    “True, but we also grew frontal lobes.”

    That doesn’t mean we use them! You’d think that would be self-evident right after grandfinal weekend. ;-)

  26. Mike Pepperday says:

    Conrad –

    “…differences in attitudes (or cognitive ability)…” “…academic ability and whether it is socialization or biology…”

    Yes, it’s off topic. The topic is morality. The mental differences between males and females are big and pervasive but it’s another topic.

    You say moral differences are tiny. Well I say the difference in tendency to dangerous driving is very widespread and it is not tiny. I say the enthusiasm for risky skateboards is entirely male and for risky childbirth is entirely female and the morally superior sex is clear. Those sort of differences would affect everything men and women do.

    Political issues? At the last federal election it was attitudes to the person of Abbott himself that showed a consistent sex difference. Was that a moral distinction? The temperance movement in the US was female driven – the morality is clear. Has anyone polled attitudes to the government’s proposed gambling restrictions? I bet women show up as more moral.

    “…the gender split that once existed is now almost gone.” In your male dreams. Men fantasise about women as keen on casual sex as men. Women’s lib and birth control pill notwithstanding, women are as coy as they ever were. The brothel customers are still men. Courtship – the dance of the sexes, the male wooing the female – plays out in humans as it has for a 100 million years, as it does in voles and pelicans and snakes and snails. The male is pro-active; the female reserved. Of the two approaches, which is more moral?

    I would really like to see some sort of evidence – some way of viewing the matter, some different perspective – that indicates (perhaps for some limited domain) that men might be more moral than women. Is there nothing at all?

  27. Patrick says:

    I am staggered by Mike Pepperday’s implicit instances of morally superior positions. Particularly on courtship, which I don’t even think is factually correct, or on Abbott – how could it morally superior to be reserved in courtship or to support Gillard over Abbott?!

    How is temperance moral? Isn’t the modern version (the War on Drugs) a candidate for least moral policy of the western world?? Didn’t the old version lead to prohibition? Was that moral???

  28. conrad says:

    “I would really like to see some sort of evidence – some way of viewing the matter, some different perspective – that indicates (perhaps for some limited domain) that men might be more moral than women. Is there nothing at all?”

    I’m not sure what more or less moral is (that’s obviously a value judgement for most things), but you should read some of the papers that were linked to.

    “Has anyone polled attitudes to the government’s proposed gambling restrictions? I bet women show up as more moral. ”

    There is a very recent survey from the ANU (here), but they don’t mention the gender split (maybe someone else has access to it). I’ll bet against your prediction — I think there won’t be much of a difference (although that isn’t very moral of me, because it isn’t a very fair bet, because if there really was a big difference, it would have been very surprising of them not to have mentioned it).

  29. Mike Pepperday says:

    “Implicit” Patrick? I didn’t imply anything.

    As for Abbott, I didn’t judge. Conrad had asked for a sex-based difference and so I mentioned it.

    You think it’s more moral to be in favour of booze than to be against it? Allowing drugs is more moral than being against them? Prohibition is less moral than than letting people (predominantly men) to get drunk as they like?

    Orwell rules. You are “staggered” that I don’t speak your double-speak.

  30. Mike Pepperday says:

    Conrad

    Thanks for the link. As you say, no breakdown by sex but on gambling itself it does say:

    “As is commonly found in Australian and international studies, men represented a large proportion (71 per cent) of people who gamble most frequently (on activities other than lottery or scratch tickets).”

    So once again, the male sets the immoral standard – and not by any tiny tail either.

    It makes mildly interesting reading. I am surprised at the strong support for restrictions on gambling. 74% no less.

    I’m a bit suspicious though. The bottom socio-economic layer, where the pokie players are, does not do surveys. The report says that respondents were presented with a list of questions. It is the helpful middle class who “respond”. Those who are listening to the ravings of Alan Jones etc are not responding to any damn survey. The academics who conduct these surveys don’t want to hear this and will stand ready to prove that they have covered the postcodes etc. I don’t believe them and I suspect they don’t believe it themselves but don’t know what to do about it so sweep it under the carpet.

    It is irritating that they don’t offer other sex breakdowns. There might be things to learn if they did. The data set is probably not public – you’d have to get some university authority to get hold of it. There is no good reason it is not on the web. Government copyright again.

    Given the strongly male propensity to gambling, I think I’ll abide by my guess that the attitudes to restrictions will be stronger for women.

    There’d be a lot of things to learn if we paid more attention to differences between the sexes and did less politically correct insisting that the differences are small (or nil). After all, the difference between the sexes is just about the most important thing in the whole universe.

    Vive la différence.

  31. conrad says:

    “Prohibition is less moral than than letting people (predominantly men) to get drunk as they like”

    If you’re interested in alcoholism and real data (versus your preconcieved ideas), then you’ll find that, at least in Victoria, one of the worst groups is actually older females in the rather rich area of Boroondara (Hawthorn, Camberwell, etc.). It would be interesting to know who causes more harm to themselves — females or males — given that alcohol affects females more than males.

    As for the gambling stuff, you’re mentioning tiny groups again (i.e., problem gamblers). As can be seen from the population stats, there’s very little difference in the overall groups. You’re also pointing out that gender is not really important compared to other things:”The bottom socio-economic layer, where the pokie players are, does not do surveys”, which I agree with.

    “the difference between the sexes is just about the most important thing in the whole universe.”

    Why? At least for the type of things I’m interested in, there are bigger differences across cultures than gender (and across SES levels also).

  32. Patrick says:

    I too am very interested in how prohibition, which iirc (with strong parallels to the WoD but this latter unfortunately confined to less ‘visible’ social classes) basically caused the unravelling of society itself, is more moral than a position based on informed free choice and an understanding of the limits to that.

    also, I am basically certain that your facts on courtship are wrong – notwithstanding which I would really appreciate it if you could explain how one position is more moral than through other!

    Gambling is also, in the real world at least, extremely problematic. Do you know what happens when you ban or effectively ban heavy gambling by the poor? They do it underground, like they do their drugs. Do you really value that lily-white conscience so much as to imagine that underground problem gambling, or drug-taking, is a morally superior policy to legitimate and regulated behaviour, however imperfectly so? Laura Norder rides again?

    Or do you just think that women are more likely to have such imperfect morals?

  33. Tel says:

    With reference to the morality of Prohibition and the War on Drugs:

    Orwell rules. You are “staggered” that I don’t speak your double-speak.

    I’m staggered that you don’t judge the worth of an action, by considering the consequence of said action.

    But then again, I’m a moral relativist and a big believer in evolution, so it’s entirely possible that multiple strategies can each find their own successful niche. My gut feeling says that a society where everyone ignores the consequences of actions is unlikely to be a successful society overall, but I guess if we ever get to that situation, we will have nothing left to compare against and in an evolutionary sense, that’s as good as it gets.

  34. Tel says:

    Do you know what happens when you ban or effectively ban heavy gambling by the poor? They do it underground, like they do their drugs.

    A bunch of guys playing poker with real cards in the back shed, drinking home-brew beer bothers me significantly less, than a lonely guy at the club feeding the poker machines, and buying overpriced syntho-beer.

    My logic is that government makes a lot of tax money on poker machines (and the beer), which just serves to put more pressure towards making the machines pay less. At least a poker table amongst your buddies is zero sum. But more than that, if you play poker often enough you tend to actually get good at it, but playing a poker machine you can never win because it’s programmed to just slurp the money. I regard playing the poker machines as stupid, possibly a sign of a poor education but not really immorality.

    Men are well known to take bigger risks, and everything in life depends on risk one way or another, some risks do pay off, so you can’t say risk taking is wrong. Then again, men intrinsically have more to gain and less to lose, which clearly shifts the optimum toward risk taking.

  35. Patrick says:

    Unsuprisingly that’s a very sensible view Tel. Slightly more surprisingly it is based on a romantic view of the world more suited to Larval rodents fantasising about the green left feminist transgendered multicultural renaissance of union power in Australia.Although I am not a social worker and don’t work in social policy I know a few people who do. To the best of my understanding problem gamblers don’t play so much poker and certainly not with their mates.

    By underground I mean underground gaming dens – rather like the brothels in underbelly razor in their methods.

    Also I was vaguely under the impression that pokie returns were actually regulated – making pokies pure regulatory rent machines :( Why their return aren’t mandated at say 95% I can’t fathom…. oh wait, twhat’s right, they are taxed at a stonking rate so 95% wouldn’t work.

    I deplore pokies but I would hate to be so callous as to indulge my tastes with a knee-jerk solution that merely pushed the problem further down the social ladder and deeper into that strata.

    Same logic applies to pay-day lending and in spades to the mighty War on Drugs.

  36. Mike Pepperday says:

    Patrick the moral dilemma of your first para (#32) is your problem. The problem at the time was pro booze versus anti booze. The latter stance is by any account more moral and it was heavily female.

    Courtship. Dear me. Every society around the world (except maybe ours) goes to great trouble to socialise men to try to ensure that the women they impregnate are their wives. They also go to great trouble to protect their women from men. Every society puts social pressures on men to support their children. Even in our ramshackle society, maintenance orders are against men. (Though maybe Conrad will come up with some place in Victoria where they are against women.) Talk to any young woman who has travelled alone and she will give you an earful on how moral men are. Around the Mediterranean she will tell you it is virtually impossible.

    Don’t you think that prostitution is just a wee bit immoral? Though no one is happy about it, everywhere it is to some extent tolerated because, well, everyone knows what men are. I once stayed in a hotel in a small country town in Morocco where there were women who were wandering the corridors in a kind of nightdress. They were actually very modest nightdresses but in the context of normal Arab female attire it was like coming face to face with aliens. Christopher Hitchens wrote somewhere about men being hostage to their genitals. There was an English virago on Q&A a month or two ago who claimed a man’s body was just a life support system for his penis.

    “Do you know what happens when you ban or effectively ban heavy gambling by the poor? They do it underground, like they do their drugs.”

    Patrick, Western Australia has no pokies and no problem. If you look at that ANU report it shows a big majority of Australians (like 80%) do not want the gambling. Those poker machines are not there out of any free choice. They are foisted on the public by governments suborned by gambling interests. If people had a free choice pokies would not exist.

  37. Mike Pepperday says:

    Come on Conrad: show me somewhere some figures or some reasoning that actually make men more moral instead of cherry-picking among the points I made to make excuses for data that show they lag hopelessly behind women.

    Off topic, Tel. “I’m staggered that you don’t judge the worth of an action, by considering the consequence of said action.” We are not talking of the worth of actions, whatever that means. Nor are we talking of the consequences of actions. If an action was moral, its consequences, good or bad, cannot affect that.

    All in all, I am forced to conclude that that men cannot match women in morality. If modern technology can take care of reproduction and women can do everything else that men can do, then men are not only immoral but useless and should be phased out.

    Think of it: no crime, no war, no porn, no beer, no rape, no guns, no child molesters (priests would be female), no fast cars and negligible gambling. And of course everyone, not just half the population as at present, would be allowed to have babies. Morality would skyrocket.

  38. conrad says:

    Mike,

    as I mentioned before, the articles referenced above have tons of it (again, I’m not going to say more or less, because then we’ll end up in the how-to-live-your life debate currently evolving).

    Incidentally, if you want better evidence for gambling, then you can look at the effect the casino caused in Melbourne — it was basically additive in terms of crime, so it really is everyone’s problem (although it does subsidize the state tax system, so I guess many do benefit indirectly from it). I presume, possibly incorrectly, the same is true of pokies, and most studies looking at it basically agree with Tel above — i.e., they prey on lonely people, people in cognitive decline etc. . I also agree that there’s a vast difference between playing on the pokies and playing poker with your friends (no ATMs, for example, and your friends are not around all day to play). So, personally, I think the restrictions they want are a good idea — however I don’t know if that’s a moral judgement, it’s just admitting that there are people vulnerable to this sort of stuff that arn’t going to behave logically. Is that moral or just sensible?

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