Only one cause

Another error of logic that I find people often mistake is that, when there is a problem, if they identify a cause, they automatically believe that the opposite side must be innocent. For example, because blacks in America, in the past suffered racism, the logic then is that blacks must therefore have nothing to do with their own current problems. It seems as if it escapes the imagination of people to be able to comprehend that the plight of blacks might have to do with both past discrimination, and current dysfunctional behavior.  The Greeks are, to some extent, the victims of attacks by foreign speculators. But, that does not exculpate the Greeks. They have also played an active role in creating their own predicament. There are at least two reasons why Greece is in a mess. Not just one. A lot of people automatically assume that if they can find bad behavior among either the Israelis or the Palestinians, that the other side must automatically be innocent. In other words, if there is evidence that the Israelis have acted badly, then by their logic the Palestinians must be innocent. Many people on the left believe that, since Muslims have been “unfairly” attacked by those on the right, it therefore stands to reason that Muslims are completely innocent of everything.  There is sometimes a tendency for people, when they hear about police brutality, to automatically assume that the victimized parties played no role in bringing about the unfortunate incident. Sometimes police brutality is a reaction to the lawlessness and brutality of the ghetto. In other words , the police get dirty in a dirty situation. I’m not trying to justify what the police do, but I don’t think that the criminal element that provokes the police is entirely innocent either.

I’m not saying that in all these cases that the guilt is 50-50. In all of these cases one factor is stronger than the other, but what I’m trying to say is that, just because one side may have been wronged, that doesn’t mean that the wronged side is necessarily 100% innocent either. Problems often have more than one cause, and victims can also be victimizers. Reality is often complex, and I think there’s a tendency for many people to make situations overly black-and-white.

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