Forced Apologies

 Posted by on 20 December 2012 at 3:00 pm  Children, Ethics, Forgiveness, Honesty, Parenting
Dec 202012

I hate the practice of forcing children to apologize. The wrongdoing child is required to lie by apologizing when he’s not sorry. Plus, the wronged child is required to pretend to believe that usually-obvious lie.

Yet such dishonesty is not the only problem with forced apologies. Children forced to apologize don’t have the opportunity to work out their problems for themselves — and to learn the consequences of doing so well or poorly.

So, I have to admire little Liam, who stuck to his guns and refused to offer a false apology.

(Via 22 Words)

Best Apology Ever

 Posted by on 5 September 2012 at 2:00 pm  Forgiveness, Funny, Sports
Sep 052012

From 22 Words:

During the Olympics, Australian TV personality Sam Newman caused a bit of a stir by saying that taekwondo is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever seen.

So, to follow up, a face-off was set up between him and a couple of Australian Olympians in that event. Even in the moments just before the fight, Newman called taekwondo “a lot of dancing.”

And then he absolutely gets his ass handed to him — exactly as you’d expect. And it is wonderful…

I know some people who owe me big, fat apologies. After watching this video, I’ll always imagine them offering those apologies while doubled over in pain after being humiliated in front of millions on television. That would be so gratifying.

Apology on Southwest

 Posted by on 20 August 2012 at 2:00 pm  Benevolence, Ethics, Forgiveness, Funny, Honesty
Aug 202012

Busted Kid Apologizes To Plane For Cutting In Line:

“As a high school lacrosse team was waiting to board a flight to a Summer tournament, one athlete took it upon himself to sneak into the pre-board group for “young passengers”. He thought he had beaten the system, but his coaches saw the whole thing go down. One hastily written speech and a nice bit of cooperation from the crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 592 later, this video was born.”

I abhor forced apologies for kids: they just teach dishonest obedience. But this case is pure awesome! The young man is clearly old enough to take his lumps for his silly stunt, and the applause from the passengers is pure benevolence.

May 282012

This BBC News story — The terrible price of a Korean defection — tells the chilling tale of Oh Kil-nam, a Marxist professor who defected from South Korea to North Korea with his family in 1985. Yes, you read that right: he defected to North Korea. Here’s an excerpt:

His wife Shin Suk-ja was horrified by the idea of going to the North and opposed it from the start. “Do you know what kind of place it is?” she asked. “You have not even been there once. How can you make such a reckless decision?”

But Oh replied that the Northerners were Koreans too – they “cannot be that brutal”, he told her.

So at the end of November 1985, Oh, his wife and two young daughters travelled via East Berlin and Moscow to Pyongyang.

When they arrived at Pyongyang airport, Oh began to see he had made a mistake in coming. Communist party officials and children clutching flowers were there to meet them. But despite the cold of a North Korean December, the children were not wearing socks and their traditional clothes were so thin that they shivered. “When I saw this I was really surprised and my wife even started to cry.”

Oh Kil-nam was able to escape, but as of his last contact with his wife and daughters in 1991, they were in a labor camp. They’re probably dead now — or so I hope, based on what I’ve read of North Korea’s labor camps.

At the end of the article, Oh Kil-nam says:

I hope there will come a day when I can meet my family again, hug them and embrace them, and cry tears of happiness. If it does happen it will be the happiest day of my life.

The man couldn’t possible deserve that, not in a million years. The evil that he did to his family is simply overwhelming: he delivered his reluctant family into the hands of the world’s most brutal dictatorship. He could never make amends for that. He could never earn forgiveness. He could never be redeemed. No suffering that he could endure in this life could possibly compensate for what he did to his family.

A person can overcome most moral wrongs… but some evils are just too heinous for that.

Two Videos on Forgiveness

 Posted by on 9 May 2012 at 8:00 am  Ethics, Forgiveness
May 092012

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered two questions on forgiveness. The first question was:

Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?
My answer, in brief:
The idea of “forgiving yourself” is somewhat metaphorical, but it’s useful for applying objective moral standards to yourself when recovering from a wrongdoing.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
The second question was:
Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn’t ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?
My answer, in brief:
People can do truly unforgivable things, particularly when they betray the fundamental basis of the relationship.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
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